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Nazareth, Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone (Conveyer Records)
CD Reviews: July 31, 2014

07/31/14



 Required listening for the “today’s music sucks” patrol, this Scottish arena-rock foursome is now 23 albums into its legacy, if you want to call this Nazareth, and you should, really, being that bassist Pete Agnew and singer Dan McCafferty are still here.  But even that’s only temporary, as McCafferty’s just retired, citing health issues; hopefully new singer Linton Osborne will be able to ape McCafferty’s drunken-banshee scream and all will be well down in blues-metal land. While all this is going on, these near-septuagenarians are trying to make nice with haters of their last album, 2011’s Big Dogz, which was way too blues and too little metal by anyone’s standard. RNRT is almost experimental, if you wanna know — there’s … OK, you’d better sit down for this: scratching, like hip-hop scratching, on “Long Long Time,” as if they were trying to catch up with Linkin Park in a 1959 Edsel. It’s hideous and brilliant at the same time.  They finally got the memo about punk-speed stuff, too, evidenced in “Punch a Hole in the Sky,” while a noise-guitar riff powers the otherwise-standard “Boom Bang Bang.”  The title track — this is the cutest part — is, of course, about smartphones, an assembly-line blooz-rocker about not being able to live without your cell phone (don’t hate me, but it made me think of Wesley Willis’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds,” you know, the song from Supersize Me, but I mean that in the nicest way possible, honest).  Their best since, well, ever. A Eric W. Saeger






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