From the outside looking in, it can be easy to judge people we don’t know. Take Danny Worsnop as a prime example… the last Asking Alexandria album From Death To Destiny (Sumerian) was widely seen as a step back at best, and tepid filler at worst (though hardly a commercial failure, nonetheless), so jumping ship to a more commercially viable band, the cynic would say, prolongs his stay in the limelight and at the top, and gives him a better chance of maintaining the Sunset Strip lifestyle. The cynic will be shot down in flames by joie de vivre of We Are Harlot (Roadrunner). ‘Blame It On The Love Of Rock n’ Roll’ as someone fairly successful once sang…
While first track ‘Dancing on Nails’ is decent and rocky enough, second track ‘DLT’ (Dirty Little Thing, not a defence of disgraced UK DJ Dave Lee Travis) is one helluva fuel injection turbo boost that prompts an face-splitting grin, as the guitars rock out and Worsnop belts out the chorus, and it all makes sense; whatever you perceive his motives to be, you can’t fake energy, you can’t fake fun and you can’t fake rock n’ fucking roll, and We Are Harlot has all three in spades.
I don’t know Worsnop, but any doubts I had are banished by the genuine, honest, uptempo and spirited rock n’ roll on display throughout.
From that moment on, the album flies by in a conveyor belt of Joe Perry-on-speed chord-bashing guitar liveliness and vocal exuberance. Worsnop brought the rock to AA at times, but here he’s set free and has never sounded better, and it must be said, it’s great to live in a world without breakdowns. He may not have the distinctiveness of an Axl or a Jon Bon Jovi but there is a touch of blues, a touch of pop and a bucketful of rock, and a nice gravelly tone to Worsnop’s voice, particularly on the bourbon-ballad ’I Tried’. ‘The One’ swaggers, ‘Flying Close To The Sun’ and ‘Never Turn Back’ have radio hit written all over them while ‘One More Night’ is head-on smash (hit) of Appetite For Destruction (Geffen) and The Wildhearts.
However, don’t think for a second this is a retro-by-numbers homage to The Legends Of Rock. Yes, you can hear Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses have had their influence in the sound, but this is a flying by the seat of its pants, gregarious, germane, gratifying, gratuitous and genuinely great album.