You really don’t get to hear bands like The Unclean very often anymore, unless they are foisted upon you by record labels desperately trying to con you that (insert band name here, but I’m particularly looking at you, Rival Sons) are the band that’s come to save rock n’roll by tapping directly into its glorious, bell-bottomed past. The Unclean are raw, unfettered and real; and whilst everything they do has been done before, much of it by bands like ZZ Top, Mountain and Foghat, they do it with such irresistible brilliance that you won’t fail to be bowled over by the goodtime vibes seeping out of every pore of The Eagle.
Really, it’s like the soundtrack to some straight-to-video ‘biopic’ of a band like Stillwater from the movie Almost Famous; so authentic you think you’ve heard it before, yet still undeniably original within its own parameters, provoking rose-tinted smiles as –if you’re old enough – you remember the simpler times of seventies hard rock when American bands like Bachman Turner Overdrive and Cactus and Britain’s Humbe Pie ruled the airwaves with storming rockers like Million Dollar Jezebel or snake-hipped bluesers like Away Too Long, which is something of a sonic dead ringer for Mountain’s Mississippi Queen but none the worse for that.
Guitarist/Vocalist Bremmy runs things with a pleasingly gravelly throated roar and a beautiful guitar tone that sometimes brings to mind the one, the only ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke of Motorhead, at others ‘Lonesome’ Dave Peverett of Foghat, whilst rhythm section Burns and Frank the Tank (on bass and drums respectively) keep the engine room ticking over just as you’d expect, giving Bremmy the framework on which to weld his magic.
The Unclean are, in a word, brilliant, and if no frills, authentic, non-poseur old-time heavy rock n’roll is an area you like to dip your toe into occasionally you won’t find better practitioners than they in 2013. As Bremmy himself says on the lazily epic Strange Kind of Living – it’s just something they were born to do…