|Roadkill, Long Island Hornets
Golly Gee Records GGR1001
"I'm greeted by the ching-ching of a rockabilly shuffle-twangy guitar, steady backbeat of pared-down drum kit, a not-unlike-Elvis vocalist and James Dean on stand-up bass. Oh yes, and as promised, two of the best pompadours on Long Island. The Hornets are the new trad band on the scene, we're time-warped into a musical segue straight out of an old beach-blanket movie. You know the kind - Annette and Frankie are frolicking on the sand and they suddenly throw a beach ball near a stage where some devilish rockabilly band is playing. McLary, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, crowned with a chunky pomp of his own, sings his impressive original songs with the conviction of someone who was sung Gene Vincent songs as lullabies. Onstage, they're one of the few Long Island bands staying true to the rebellious heart and greased-up soul of rockabilly. All the other guys on the Island's tightknit scene hold out a lot of hope for The Hornets' authentic approach." -- Long Island Voice (July 1998) --
The Long Island Hornets are a four-piece rockabilly band with the typical instrumentation, and 11 original songs on their new 12 track CD. The CD inlay shows a few definite warning signs, like "Modern Rockabilly" and "12 Tracks Of Wild Rockabilly Mayhem!". So, now you know what to expect. The music is based on authentic 50s rockabilly, and still uses original rockabilly rhythms, but it tends to neo, or modern rockabilly if you like.
The album opens with the titlesong "Roadkill", which starts with a slow lead intro that gives that creepy feeling that something or someone is gonna get hurt real soon. Well, after about 40 secs this certainly comes true when Mike starts violently abusing his drumkit. That'll wake you up for sure. The spooky vocals and fabulous lead guitar make this one heck of a track, although 5 minutes is a bit long for a rockabilly song. "Misunderstood" is more authentic and the neo-feel is mostly brought on by Jeff's dark echoing vocals.
If you happen to be a bit suicidal, you might wanna try boppin' to the revved up "Crazy Dreams", but I think you'd better stay in your seat and just tap your feet, 'cause I'm pretty sure you can't sit still anyway. And the raving rhythm just keeps on going with "Pink Lincoln", one of the two songs written by drummer Mike Dejewski. All other originals were penned by Jeff McLary. And although Mike hits off hard on "Love Me Like A Train", the rhythm of the song is somewhat slower. After replacing the skins on Mike's drums the band carries on with the howling "Lone Wolf", kept in pace by the loud clicking of Peter's bass strings. "Two Tone Shoes" is another 50s styled rockabilly song, followed by "The Long Ride Home". Turn up the bass! "Rain All Day" is what we get in Holland most of the year, and sometimes you just can't help getting the blues. Actually, this bluesy song gives you a chance to catch your breath before boppin' along again to "Five Long Days".
"Tequila And Chainsaws" is another rockabilly epic that lasts for over 4 minutes, with many changing rhythms. Jeff is a bit "heavy" on the lead guitar at times and rockbilly purists might not be very impressed with it. The last track is a cover of Dale Hawkins' "Little Pig", by now a neo-rockabilly traditional, recorded dozens of times by various rockabilly bands like The Polecats, Buzz & The Flyers, Batmobile and many more...
If you like it rough and tough, this "live fast, die young" style platter will be a treat for your ears and feet. If you're a fifties lover who'd rather listen to the likes of Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson or Bobby Vee, I suggest you skip this one :-)
Introducing the band:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001