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The Hellacopters | By the Grace of God | review | rock | Lollipop
By the Grace of God (Liquor and Poker)
by Brian Varney
Classic rock. Those are the two words that will come up at some point in any discussion of this band or this album, so you might as well decide right now how you feel about those words. Do you think of your fat, skullet-clad uncle yelling "Free Bird" and laugh? Do you cringe when "The Boys Are Back in Town" or "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" or "Slow Ride" or "Sweet Emotion" come on the radio? If so, stop reading right now.
It is this type of music, songs of a similar timeless quality, which The Hellacopters now write and record. What separates them from the hordes of doofuses like Jet, what makes them the best rock 'n' roll band in the world, is the way they're able to harness the spirit and beauty of the best classic rock and write songs that are able to hold their own alongside the original greats without sounding like a Sha-Na-Na type nostalgia exercise or, indeed, being beholden to any era. These songs could've been written in any of the past four decades and sounded just as unapproachably magnificent and undated as they do today, and that's what makes them classics.
Every song on this album is amazing, and the album flows in such a way that only magnifies this greatness. The transition from the winsome midtempo longing of "Down on Freestreet" to the revved-up Chuck Berry intro of "Better Than You"? Genius. Seriously, this album is so impeccably sequenced and so packed with winners that there is literally no stopping for breath until "On Time," the eighth song. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine song as well, but the first seven songs make up a concentrated example of what it is about rock music that makes me want to scream with happiness and jump up and down and throw my shoes through the window. It's been so long that I can't even remember the last record that made me feel this way. I don't use the word "genius" with impunity, but I've already used it once in this review, and it won't be the last time I use it when describing By the Grace of God. I don't want to sound like a gushing fan-boy, but I can't remember the last time a rock record made me want to cry for no other reason than it's so fucking good that I can't stand it.
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