Barry Hay (vocals,guitar,flute), George Kooymans (guitar,vocals), Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums), Rinus Gerritsen (bass,keys)
Golden Earring... indeed! This band needs no introduction. Golden Earring has been going strong now for 51 years. Tits 'n Ass marks the release of their 25th studio album. No less than 9 years it took them to come with a new release, but it is a piece of art. Not that it will top timeless classics such as "Moontan" or "Cut," but it is an album with all the key ingredients for a classic rock CD. Cast aside the tacky title and the horrid cover art... it is time for a spin!
"Tits'n Ass" proves to be the working space of a band that almost seamlessly follows each others ideas, creating some brilliant rock tunes. The album sounds inspired and driven with Hay and Kooymans delivering the goods as is. Containing powerful grooving bass and drums, slick melodies, and driving guitars. Barry Hay is gifted with a hoarse voice and typical sound that is the binding factor on their albums. It is because of the vocal interaction between Kooymans and Hay, as well as the bass and drum interaction, of Gerritsen and Zuiderwijk, that Golden Earring sounds exactly as they in Bonded by blood.
Don't expect new renditions of "Radar Love" or "Twilight Zone." This Dutch quartet is way too stubborn to repeat itself.
Instead, the band has come up with 14 timeless rock songs which are drenched in blood and sweat. Loud, roaring and inspired. Driven performances like in the opening hammer "Identical," or the Dutch upbeat hit single "Still Got My Keys To My First Cadillac" stand out as usual. Blues rocker "My Little Time Bomb," the gloomy "Just In Time" and "Acrobats and Clowns" feature ingredients from the past in a carefully crafted modern sound. It is the sound which also shot through mind on the band's predecessor "Millbrook U.S.A."
Humming twin guitars, riffs thick as mud with a sizzling southern undertone, the ghost of 38 Special is present, thanks to the collaboration with American instrumentalist Frank Carillo. It is his mark upon songs which elevates the overall sound on "Avenue of Broken Dreams," "Over the Cliff and into the Deep Blue" or "Flowers in the Mud." A mark that is reminiscent to Mellencamp or the Riverdogs. Or even too stay closer to the band, the mark of Barry Hay. His solo album "Victory of Bad Taste" (1987) also featured this southern overhaul, and to me is one of the best rock CD's recorded in The Netherlands. It is the vibe present on "Tits 'n Ass' as well.
Perhaps there's not as many classics on the album as one might expect after 9 years of composing, but there is a certain buzz inflicting the band with tremendous passion and pleasure on this album. A live feel in studio, the way Golden Earring is at their very best. A vibe, if you like...
"What Do I Know About Love," and "This Love" are the typical Golden Earring ballads, but lack the passion songs like "Going to the Run" or "Another 45 Miles" had. Composed rather safe, too much in the vein of those tunes.
Now rocking steady for 51 years, Golden Earring has again crafted an album which is slick as it is hard knuckled, bold and raw as it is polished. Not always bearing the mark of a masterpiece, it certainly fits in their extensive catalogue. And if it fits in the catalogue of half a century of rock music and rock history, it will certainly fit in your CD collection!