Outta Sight / Outta Mind
f you could hear the gears whirring pathetically and tragically between my ringing ears, they’d probably go something like, “wheerruuuggh chugga chugga ttsszz… pfft”. You know, that noise that Warner Bros cartoons make whenever someone whacks an alarm clock with a comedy-sized rubber mallet. Somewhere down the road, the smoke is clearing from the fifteen-car pile-up while hungry ravens pick out severed thumbs from the mangled gravel and a couple of smoking tumbleweeds whistle past. The reason for this confusion? The new Datsuns album has just ripped my heart out of my candy ass, liquefied my head and sprayed the monitor a delightful shade called Hint of Brain. Have you got any more?
Reader, were you expecting me to chin-strokingly waffle on about The Datsuns’ place within heavy rock’s canon and discuss influences and chord structure whilst wanking myself into a post-coital numbness, YOU WERE WRONG! Ha! The simple fact is this: how can you sit through the V8 revving of “Blacken My Thumb” and still want to intellectualise rock? It should make any self-conscious critic pitch forward onto the carpet, shuddering and sobbing, “oh Jesus, oh Jesus!” The only thing your thesaurus is good for here, dweeb, is for soaking up the juice after the Thorogoodly rockin’ “Messin’ Around” has pummeled you into a fine, bloody mist. Outta Sight/Outta Mind is hands down the heavy rock album of the year so far, not to mention the last five or so. Now: while it’s easy to give credit to producer John Paul Jones for the bron-y-aur stomp of the record—he’s done a snappy job of rescuing them from the sticky mud of some of The Datsuns’ less sparkling moments—it’s easy to hear that the true genius lies in the almighty powah of The Datsuns themselves.
From the high-octane strut of “Blacken My Thumb” to the rollicking pants-down scary shagfest of “You Can’t Find Me”, it’s an album of blistering talent and energy that reveals its might upon repeated listens. Yes, all the tracks are good—but amongst the unfolding epic, there is a 1,2,3 punch that cements The Datsuns’ place as rulers of the rock roost. It starts with the testifyin’ spasticity of “Get Up! (Don’t Fight It)”, joyously whumping enough cowbells to outfit the entire Devondale fleet and all silly exclamation mark spanked-axe two-string riffs sliding a finger or three up a loose-legged bassline in the back of the Mustang. “Hong Kong Fury” is a lumbering, fantastical beast of rock majesty; this elephant swings from side to side as its largesse drags helpless civilians screaming and crying from their windows and balconies before its righteous wah wah solo brings their mangled corpses back to frugging life. Finally, the ladies’ choice swing of the countryesque “What I’ve Lost” lulls your feverish body into an uneasy daze—but this is no limp-wristed Shitty Beatles ballad, just a distillation of the emotion that makes The Datsuns such riveting listening.
So here’s where I’m supposed to tie it all up in a tidy little bundle of “ultimately” and “essentially”, so you can say “hmm” and wonder if you really do like vanilla. Already there have been reviews and interviews overflowing with by-golly assertions that The Datsuns are on the beat with Outta Sight/Outta Mind, which is in the modern idiom. Cock! You know, for once I actually wish I could get my arse into gear and follow suit, as if not being able to cobble together a few paras of men’s club cucumber sandwich dribble is in some way a slight upon this very fine band. But here’s the clincher—Outta Sight/Outta Mind is not an album that you can discuss in measured tones whilst tending to your beard. It is an album that will only cause mass hysteria and blood clots and burst forth Kundalini from the base of your spine like some auto-massage chair plugged into the wrong transformer while you holler “wheeeeaaauurgh!!” and finally slump down into a wet pile of exhaustion. When was the last time your new rock heroes did that for you, eh?
Reviewed by: Clem Bastow
Reviewed on: 2004-06-11