A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked as a bartender in a couple of bars in southern Portugal. They were the sort of bars where there was dancing on the tables, people pouring beer on each other when it got too hot, shooters, tequila laybacks and slammers… all that stuff. As bartenders we got to choose the music – mostly classic rock and hard rock from the 50s, 60s and 70s – music that makes people want to drink, sing along, and go nuts. And I can tell you right now, that if I’d had 42 Decibel’s “Hard Rock N’ Roll” available behind the bar in those days, this album would have gotten a serious workout. This is real, hand-crafted, satisfying rock’n’roll – rough and rowdy, gritty and growly, bluesy and hard, and just made for a cold beer, or two, or ten.
What you’ll probably notice first about 42 Decibel’s sound is front-man Junior Figueroa’s voice – a voice that immediately brings to mind tAC/DC sound, and that’s just fine with me. Figueroa’s voice is rough, sometimes even ragged, and at times it feels as though it’s on the verge of causing pain, for him and any listeners, but somehow that just works to the band’s advantage, adding an extra sharp, jagged edge and energy to the tracks.
Just like early AC/DC, this is hard rock built solidly on old-school rock, rhythm & blues, and just plain ol’ blues. The band is clearly channelling not just 1970s AC/DC, but the rock’n’roll of the 1960s and even the 1950s. “Smokin’ Fire” is a perfect example, sounding like a hard rock version of a 50s rocker – it’s a great track and one of my favorites here.
While Figueroa’s voice growls and prowls and snarls, the rest of the band puts in some terrific rock’n’roll muscle, with Billy Bob Riley’s slide guitar adding just the right groove and flavor throughout. There’s a thumping pulse and a great swing to 42 Decibel’s sound too, thanks in large part to Nicko Cambiasso’s rock-solid drumming and Chris Marck Towers’ bass.
Top tracks for me, apart from “Smokin Fire”, includes the AC/DC styled, 100 proof opener “Scotch Drinker”; the teasing-pleasing “Long Legged Woman”; and the highly enjoyable “Drinkin’ Margaritas”. There’s lots of guitar goodness everywhere: just listen to the gritty “Take Me” and the terrific “I’m Gonna Give You All”. “Rocker Soul” – a tasty shot of riff-powered rock – is another standout, while final track “Gimme A Drink” has a real “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” feel. And beware: all these tunes are just begging to be played louder than hell.
42 Decibel may come from Argentina, but they’re obviously citizens of the worldwide nation of rock’n’roll, and the title of this album really says it all. “Hard Rock N Roll” is just that: a stack of no nonsense, rough-around-the-edges, thoroughly enjoyable hard rock, played with guts, grit and guitar-flair. Crank this album up and let it loose: just be prepared that you’ll be craving a cold drink in a sweaty bar in no time.
- Junior Figueroa: vocals, lead guitar
- Billy Bob Riley: rhythm/slide guitar
- Chris Marck Towers: bass
- Nicko Cambiasso: drums
- Scotch Drinker
- Smokin’ Fire
- Long Legged Woman
- The Real Deal
- Take Me
- I’m Gonna Give You All
- Drinkin’ Margaritas
- Addicted To Rage
- Born To Ride Alone
- Rocker Soul
- Drunk Love
- Gimme A Drink
(This review was originally published at Hard Rock Nights.)