Where have all the rock bands gone? Was it really all that long ago the so-called “garage-rock revival” flirted with the promise of a whole new generation of guitar-wielding heroes? What do we have to show from this heady period of optimism? Cola-shilling Jack White? The Strokes? Now, I enjoy banjo-plucking, horn-accompanied sing-alongs and noisy, freak-out improv as much as the next guy (probably more so), but their current ascendance doesn’t mean we have to abandon good ol’ time-tested “rawk.” The long-toothed remnants of the alterna-boom have sullied its name for too long — clinging steadfast to a game that’s long-since passed them by. What we need are young, longhaired Huns ready to sack, pillage and, ultimately, save rock. What we need are more bands like Ladyhawk.
This isn’t to say that the members of Ladyhawk are mind-blowing talents destined to revitalize rock music all on their own; they aren’t, and smart money wouldn’t bet on them accomplishing that lofty goal. The band is, however, a solid young act whose meat-and-potatoes rock aesthetic is sorely missing from that stagnant genre. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is hardly a revolutionary concept, but the sincerity in the members’ internalization of it grants a refreshing edge. It takes that kind of youthful spirit to be able to get away with songs such as “Teenage Love Song,” which includes lyrics such as “Your mom is a bitch, I don’t care what she thinks of me” and “we’ll sneak out and fuck in the family van.”
Thankfully, there’s more to Ladyhawk than just attitude. The band members prove throughout their debut that, though they might not be innovative, they’re quick studies of classic formulas. Bluesy slow-burners abound, and when the band changes it up with jangly guitar hooks — most notably on handclap-heavy “My Old Jacknife” — the results are plenty catchy. To expect any more out of Ladyhawk would really be unfair. After all, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll.
Listen to “The Dugout”