Two years on from the impressive bluster of the debuting swagger of Electric Blood, Atlanta’s Biters are back with another notable bag of goodies in the shape of The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be (both Earache), and a mission statement to make Rock n’ Roll relevant again. While album one came from out of nowhere, shining bright with its proto-punk melodies, has the curse of the “difficult second album” struck now that there are ready ears awaiting the follow-up?
Taking the approach of dialling down the brashness while ramping up the sheen and the polish, it’s a welcome case of second verse, same as the first in terms of the quality of the infectious earworms Tuk and the boys are slinging around with reckless abandon. Equal doses The Sweet and Hanoi Rocks, Biters are a celebration of a musical bygone age, but manage that marvellous (cheap) trick of doing so without sounding generic, or like they’re in it just to ape what has gone before.
Opening duo ‘Let It Rock’ and ‘Stone Cold Love’ are a pair of retro-bangers, the latter strutting with a full on T-Rex pout, both worthy of filling theaters around the globe. As mentioned, there is a conscious taming of the wild abandon that coursed like jolts through Electric Blood but Biters turn that to their advantage by exploring pastures new and adding a wider scope to their oeuvre; the stomp of ‘Vulture City’ and its Billy Duffy guitar licks stands out, ‘Hollywood’ is satisfying piano-led reflection, ‘Gypsy Rose’ encourages Dad dancing, while the Southern twang of ‘Going Back To Georgia’ is a cool way to end this journey.
Are Biters making Rock n’ Roll relevant again? Well, they’re a contemporary band who have just delivered a second album in a row of high quality Rock n’ Roll songs that are winning hearts and minds with the simple class of their songs, whether they reference Free or Thin Lizzy not (and they do, especially on ‘Don’t Turn This Good Heart Bad’, but that’s absolutely fine), so maybe they are. Good songs are good songs are good songs, innit. And Biters deal exclusively in good songs.