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Whatever Gets You Off

Eleven Seven Music (2009)
Rating: 9.5/10

When I first heard The Last Vegas I wondered why they weren’t massive? Whatever Gets You Off is the sound of a band in its prime, a band knocking on the door and banging heads together. But then again, when I heard the debut albums of Beautiful Creatures, Saigon Kick, Young Heart Attack, I Love You, Love/Hate, Brides Of Destruction etc., I had the same excitement.

In one instance I had the feeling that I was in possession of something bordering on great, but I also felt that all of these bands were way too cool to get anywhere, and this was proven in every case; I just hope The Last Vegas aren’t going to be one of those bands described as “the best you’ve never heard”.

Thankfully, tours in support of the likes of Mötley Crüe and, more recently, Guns N’ Roses have put them in good stead, and with Nikki Sixx and Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba helping produce this record, one thing is sure, even the big boys are behind ’em. And rightly so, because The Last Vegas are a smoking hot, Chicago-based five-piece fronted by the enigmatic Chad Cherry who has been blessed with a set of pipes that remind me heavily of a mix between Cinderella’s Tom Kiefer, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Fastway’s Dave King.

I’m a sucker for bands having the right look, and The Last Vegas are all about attitude and swagger, giving them that extra edge over so many other bands of this ilk. This is molten glam rock sleaze with a pure rock ‘n’ roll strut that pouts cavorts and stomps, but more importantly, it has the songs to complete the package. Behind Mr. Cherry sits the percussive prince Nate Arling who crashes, smashes and thrashes his way through the eleven tracks on offer, whilst his brother, Adam, accompanied by Johnny Wator, supply the licks, grooves and hip-shaking riffs, and the aptly named Danny Smash keeps the bass line thumping.

The cauldron these guys stir is a mighty one, and the result is a smorgasbord of scintillating rock ’n’ roll which will have you chomping at the bit. And what better way to start than the blistering rattlesnake shake of the title track. This is one of hard rock’s greatest ever songs put to wax; a smouldering, hooky mini-masterpiece that writhes like a hellish hybrid of Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ fused with AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Cult and the Rolling Stones. This is as catchy as it gets, the type of track to get any party going, and it doesn’t let up.

The sensational ‘I’m Bad’ saunters in on a Led Zeppelin-ish groove, leading us into a killer chorus in which Cherry barks, “I’m bad, it’s true, there’s a little bit of me in every one you / I’m bad, it’s true, you can say that I’m the Devil and there’s nothin’ you can do… about it”. ‘High Class Trash’ follows suit, all lipstick and leather on that sleazoid riff, nodding to the likes of Buckcherry and Mötley Crüe, especially on that chanted chorus.

But just when you think things can’t get any better, we’re treated to the Rolling Stones-esque vibe of ‘Loose Lips’, hand claps and all, with the bluesy riff as infectious as anything from the late 80s. And then the album reaches its finest moment, with the epic sounding hair metal ballad ‘Apologize’, co-written with Nikki Sixx. The song sighs in on a dreamy guitar and Chad Cherry’s rasp, slowly building to that dramatic and oh so catchy chorus that once again brings to mind the scarf-waving beauty of Cinderella, particularly their minor hit ‘Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)’.

From here on in the band unleash mover after mover, from the sleazy ‘Cherry Red’ and ‘Another Lover’ to the cool, sexy, sassy ‘Dirty Things You Do’, in which Cherry adopts a more gravelled approach and spits, “She likes to fuck on a bed of money”, whilst the twin guitar attack continues to melts the face.

Whatever Gets You Off is simply a rollercoaster that you will not want to get off. Support this band or forever wallow in the depths of your own backside. This is rock ’n’ roll.

Neil Arnold