Von Benzo Von Benzo

by Alissa Ordabai
Staff Writer

vonSounding like a typical bar band pedalling an unpretentious concoction of Southern rock and punk oiled by an occasional dash of pop, this Swedish quartet still manages to show that there is more to their clichéd gravelly-voiced bad-boys-of-rock stance than an attempt to make a living out of pleasing the crowd on a Saturday night at your local.

Straightforward, simple harmonies and undemanding melodies is the foundation on which they base their act, but somehow they also know how to add enough swagger, style and panache to turn at least some of those songs into valid and independent artistic statements. “I’m On My Way” is one of those songs – a gloriously laidback, strutting highlight where singer Jay’s rough-hewn, whiskey-soaked voice suddenly shows unexpected range and a taste for flowing, swaggering looseness.

“Die Beautiful” is another standout taking Jay out of his customary Hetfield-meets-Lemmy vocal mode – a country rock ballad with some real emotional depth boasting an ostinato chorus with illuminates this track to a hauntingly beautiful effect.

If every song on this record was in this way inspired, the band would be on its road to superstardom as we speak. So far, however, there is more work to be done on learning how to get out of the routine and the prescribed and to connect with what’s going on inside. There is definitely more where those gorgeous standouts came from, but it will take more effort to tap into it properly.

Label: Orange Haze Productions

Track Listing:

1. And the Dead Said No
2. Let Myself Go
3. Poison
4. Sad Dead Me
5. I’m on My Way
6. I Don’t Give a Good God Damn
7. Bad Father, Bad Son
8. Ain’t It December
9. Black Eyes on a Saturday Night
10. MTV Killed Rock’n’Roll
11. Medicine
12. Die Beautiful
13. Move to Detroit
14. Jona Song
15. Demolition Man

Hardrock Haven rating: 6/10

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