To those of us who grew up with the unmatched pleasures of guitars and drums and honest-to-goodness tunes, the second outing from London-based Swiss rockers Daxx & Roxane feels a lot like coming home. From the moment the eyeballs-out opener counts itself in with the frantic click of drumsticks, there’s a real sense that you might just have stumbled upon your own front door while blundering through the dark – and the thought of the comfort within is enough to make you weep. If that sounds less than rock n’ roll, it’s worth remembering that the best things in life are rarely unfamiliar: with the follow-up to 2017’s Ticket to Rock, aided by Colin Parkinson (formerly Inglorious) at the production helm, the young four-piece waste no time in reminding us there’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned din. It’s classic rock – every bit as hard as it is melodic - exactly as we knew and loved it. And what a sweet relief that is.
On their website, the band cite their influences as Motley Crue, Deep Purple and AC/DC and it’s not hard to hear elements of all of those within the retro offerings. But think of just about any song-driven rock band with a knack for a singable hook and there are plenty of comparisons to be made. Fast Lane, for instance, smacks of Airbourne, while the moody opening of Heal, recently voted track of the week in Classic Rock, comes over all November Rain-era Guns n’ Roses then quickly ditches the build-up in favour of a wind-blown chorus designed with the gentle sway of phone torches in mind. If it ends up being more chorus-on-loop than anything else you can just about forgive them: sometimes it’s worth getting to the good bit early and staying there. And in this case the good bit is really bloody good.
In Cedric Pfister, they have a vocalist who could well have inhaled the clarity of Y&T’s Dave Meniketti, then swallowed a healthy Vince Neil snarl. Luca Senaldi’s hard-punching drums are sensibly kept high in the mix and on lead guitar Cal Wymann is both soulful and Satriani-esque, particularly on Give it Time, where the shredding almost threatens to hijack the delicious, sleazy groove. Thankfully, the production hasn’t gone overboard on the polish and what you get is still red raw and super-hungry. This is clearly a band that will be in its absolute element live.
They are possibly at their best when channelling a bluesier vintage vibe, notably on Strange Woman and Get to It, both with heavy references to Whitesnake and Purple. It’s not often you get an instrumental on an album, but Dawn, with its tribal drumming and filmic grunginess, hints at greater inventiveness to come.
Daxx & Roxane have clearly found their feet. With these eleven songs, they’ve set out a sizeable welcome mat for anyone craving a return to the heartiest hard rock. With any luck, they won’t wait long for a stampede.
More info about Daxx & Roxane here
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