The most peculiar thing about ?bar bands? or ?pub rock? bands is how surprised they look when they’re heckled or shouted off stage. What do they expect? After playing a six-minute cover of George Thorogood’s ‘Move It On Over’, you’re lucky if you haven’t been impaled with the mic stand.
Russian Roulettes are not a bar band per se. If they were, it would be one of the most awesome bars you ever found yourself in. They sound nothing like George Thorogood either, but they do lay down a genial brand of good time rock’n?roll equally suited to dancing, drinking and partying in bars and/or taverns.
Featuring members of some of Melbourne’s finest rock bands – Legends of Motorsport, The Specimens, Kamikaze Trio, The Actioneers, Digger and The Pussycats and Kids of Zoo – the three-piece kick out the jams on songs like ‘September Girl’ and ‘Outta Control’, which draws inspiration from Bo Diddley. The blown-out fuzz guitar and Sam Agostino’s urgent pleading on ‘Hurry Up’ adds to the shambolic, falling-down mood of the record. It’s called R’N?R for a reason. Rock and roll. Rest and Recuperation. Rum and Ritalin.
With such songs as ‘Party’ and ‘Drinking Much Too Long’, they’re unlikely to be invited by Jenny Brockie to the ?Music and Politics? episode of Insight. But when Agostino sings, “I want to be famous/I want to go somewhere where I can be seen” on ‘Gonna Make It’, there are hints of social commentary – even if it’s not acute.
R&R staggers a little at times – ‘Girl You Know How to Dance’ gets a little lost in its own wah-wah riff worship – but overall this is a great party rock’n?roll record. You could do a lot worse than walk into a bar and find The Russian Roulettes shreddin’ on stage.