The Netherlands' Black Volvo are back with a brand new album. The three piece are releasing Bad Driving on March 17th on TNS Records in England and Make-That-A-Take Records in Scotland. Two record labels that are very close to my heart.
When I think about the particular brand of punk rock TNS tend to put out I always think of loud, aggressive, in your face music that is also fun. Listening to Bad Driving I can see why Black Volvo and TNS have their connection. On Bad Driving, Black Volvo have written seventeen songs that will have you shouting and smiling in equal measure. Combining punk, rock 'n' roll and a dash of metal music, Black Volvo have crafted their own instantly recognisable sound that will get your fists in the air immediately. This is what I want in my punk rock.
When you read that there are seventeen tracks on Bad Driving you might think that this album is going to be a bit of a marathon slog when listening the whole way through. I did. But looking at the track listing there are only two songs that are over three minutes long and over half the songs are less than two minutes long. The album really flies by without stopping for any rest. What might seem like a marathon is actually a bit of a sprint with Black Volvo seemingly on a mission to have as much fun as possible in as short a time as they can. There is definitely no wasted motion here.
At seventeen songs long is there any filler? ABSOLUTELY NOT! There isn't one track on Bad Driving that I didn't fall in love with on the very first listen. Obviously I have my favourites over others but there isn't a single dud on the album. My personal favourites were Punkrock Family, Pants On Fire, Eagle Mind and Rebel Revolution Red Wine.
Punkrock Family starts out with the band screaming "I, I Got My Punk Rock Family, Family" without the backing of any instruments. This is really striking every time hear it. It's a song about not fitting in anywhere until you find your home in punk rock. I'm sure many people can relate to this message.
There is a psychobilly feel to the opening of Pants On Fire that I really loved. You don't hear enough psychobilly these days. Black Volvo's lead singer Richard's voice is on top form - there is an amazing amount of aggression and power coming from his vocal performance that can't be ignored. Pants On Fire is about not believing the stories that you're told.
Eagle Mind has a fantastic guitar riff that plays throughout the song and seems to be the backbone for the entire track. The chorus features a great back and forth section with Richard trading off vocals with Jaap and Roy, this gives the song even more energy and will allow the crowd to feel more involved in the song when played live.
Rebel Revolution Red Wine is the final track on Bad Driving. Beginning with another excellent guitar riff, the track is a powerful one. Tinged with a hint of 60s rock 'n' roll, it's a hard hitting banger about rebelling against what is safe and secure and taking a chance. There is a short moment where the music drops out and the band scream "Rebel Revolution" over and over again. This will really get, what I imagine would be an already raucous, crowd screaming as loud as they can with Black Volvo.
Bad Driving is one of those albums that, as much as I enjoy it on recording, I think can't be fully appreciated until you see Black Volvo play these songs live. The energy coming out of these songs is immense but live I can only imagine it would knock my socks off. Seeing Black Volvo play live is now on my list of things to do as soon as possible. I want my socks to be knocked off!
Pre-order Bad Driving here: https://blackvolvorockers.bandcamp.com/album/bad-driving
or from TNS here: https://www.tnsrecords.co.uk/?product_cat=tns-releases
or from MTAT here: https://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/album/bad-driving-lp
Like Black Volvo here: https://www.facebook.com/blackvolvorock/
This review was written by Colin Clark.