Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

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Social Distortion: California Hustle and Flow
Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Social Distortion)

Standing between metal-edge country-rock and disheveled Keith Richards riff-hard rock'n'roll blues, Social Distortion don't exactly reinvent the wheel, but they do enjoy burning rubber on this 11-song set which invites you to roll down the window, rack up the volume and point the bonnet down a strip of empty highway.

For an American band they also have some of the swagger of Oasis oddly enough – notably on California Hustle and Flow – but mostly this is taut, post-punk rock'n'roll which enjoys its outlaw position (Diamond in the Rough which is like early John Mellencamp with a bad attitude) and mainman Mike Ness gets into hardcore lock'n'load on his guitar.

A lot of reference points here if they are new to you: think a post-teen Springsteen with an air of desperation and wired up on substances (Writing on the Wall); Rob Zombie if he'd been brought up on country rock not horror movies (the thrilling Machine Gun Blues); classic power-pop wearing motorcycle leathers (Far Side of Nowhere) . . .

This is an implosion of influences force-fed turpentine wine and turned up loud.

Ness is on record saying this is a return to the brattiness of late Seventies punk (he mentions Johnny Thunders) and that is certainly part of the contract here too – but mostly this is fuel-injected classic rock with a country twist which best at 11 out on the open road.

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