|Eternity, Fireball Steven & The Hale Bop's
NBT Records #872
Well, lookie here, lookie here... the debut long-player from Fireball Steven & The Halebops has appeared. "Hailing" from Sweden's West Coast, these cats first got together circa '98. Singer Nic Nilsson (aka 'Fireball Steven') had previously seen action with Uncle Nic & The Alternators (leaving 2 EP releases in their wake) whilst guitarman Börje was a veteran of the Rockin' Racoons campaigns on the likes of two 'Tail' label compilations.
Strikes me as fitting that they have a dynamic name, as it seems like things kinda happen to this band real fast, once they do come along. Soon after I spoke to them for the first time I sent them on a trip to Norway, followed by a tour in Finland and some gigs in Holland. Likewise, after their first EP ("Halebops Comin'"), seems they've near bombarded the rockin' world with a string of releases recently... two more 7"es, a couple of compilation appearances on the US 'NBT' label, an EP backed by the Saddle Pals (US) and now this here's first full length CD.
One time I got the fellas on a show in Finland sharing the bill with Vernon Taylor, and from this occasion sparked a good friendship with Dave Moore, guitarist with Vernon and frontman with his own band the Saddle Pals. It wasn't long before 'the Fireball' was heading over the pond Stateside for the first of a coupla trips, which resulted in their appearances on West Virginian label 'NBT'. Recently an EP appeared with Fireball Steve backed by Dave's band, the Saddle Pals (check that out for "The Ride", penned by Dave!). In the meantime, following a UK show with Billy Adams, Dave packed his (saddle) bags for a trip to Sweden and joined the band in the studio on rhythm guitar for a few of the songs here, as well as writing a couple of the tracks. Also worthy of special mention, having penned a couple of strong cuts, Börje Öh's "Down The Road" and "Way Down South In Dixie" stand tall here.
Half a dozen covers fit seamlessly into a set of contemporary-penned cuts here, on an album from a band that you'll dig if you love the old 'Starday' and 'Meteor' stable sounds for example. The Fireball's 'Meteor' style here was recorded on vintage equipment for that period-perfect sound... Dynachord tube amp, Binson iron echo, single-channel 'Tandberg' tape recorder... you get the picture. Rural rockabilly, often mid-tempo, that usually surprises you just when you think you got it sussed... when they pick up the pace streaking overhead in a "Four Tired Car", or hit a 2-part harmony vocal on "A Fool Was I" (penned by drummer Spinno) or lament melodically on "I'm So Lonely".
The Halebops show no sign of losing their momentum anytime soon, so keep one eye trained on the night-sky as it's right about time now that they'll be entering the orbit in your neighbourhood!
Marc Fenech, Northern & Rolling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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