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8 out of 10
The Flare-Up! are a Swedish band, from the same Scandinavian Garage Rock n Roll High School as The Hellacopters, Flaming Sideburns and The Hives. Handclaps and Honky Tonk piano hold down snarling guitars, while stories from the strip club and gutter ring out from singer Manne Andersson in songs like the anthemic title track "Whip 'Em Hard Hard..".
The group picture in the sleeve could mislead the casual viewer into thinking The Flare-Up! would be more of a wet squib. But the speakers are playing a different tune, one that's soaked in Jack Daniels and the devil's dandruff.
Some of the songs sound a bit too similar to some of their contemporaries, ("Little China Boy" is very close to something from the sadly missed Datsun's and "Too Many Zombies" shows their appreciation for the rockabilly scene and the Misfits) and sometimes themselves which is a bit embarrassing (Sure You're Big Enough)...Oh, its a reprise!!? Why wasn't it in the original song? But in rock 'n' roll, if isn't broke, why fix it? Ask the Young brothers what they think about that!?
The Flare-Up! have delivered an album that would have been huge during the heady garage-rock revival days of 2004, when Jack White was king and the Von Bondies were the new Soup Dragons.
I like it; you might as well - its music to get drunk to before you put Kiss on. Do you like to get drunk and put Kiss on? Try this first.
1. Put It In A Letter
2. Vicious Seeds
3. Whip 'Em Hard, Whip 'Em Good
4. Kid Avenger
5. To Kill A Puerto Rican
6. The Rudes
7. Too Many Zombies
8. Little China Boy
9. All Them Pretty Dolls
10. Sure You're Big Enough?