The Hotrats

Turn Ons

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On a busman’s holiday from Supergrass, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey kick out the cover jams as the Hotrats. The very presence of Nigel Godrich, producer of Radiohead and Beck, is a pretty good tip-off that their 2010 album, Turn Ons, isn’t quite the straight-ahead romp as it may initially seem. Sometimes Turn Ons is as heady as its title, traveling down some trippy side roads -- appropriately so in a cover of the Doors’ “Crystal Ship” -- and sometimes turning songs inside out, envisioning “Up the Junction” as a psychedelic lament, and recasting two perennially snotty anthems of rebellion, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” and “EMI,” as clever acoustic-based rockers, but this ain’t an art project shepherded by Godrich, this is a noisy rock & roll party that’s over and out in just over a half-hour. Gaz’s guitars are cranked so they spit, Danny pounds out animalistic rhythms, even during the stately march of Pink Floyd’s “Bike,” and there’s fuzz bass splattered on every other song -- it’s focused madness, with Godrich layering in details, accenting the corners with unexpected colors. All this flair reveals itself slowly, but Turn Ons retains its explosive energy with repeat spins: “Pump It Up” never rocked harder, “Queen Bitch” zeroes in on Bowie’s gleeful snarl, “Lovecats” and “Love Is the Drug” dive into the gutter, while the Velvet Underground’s “I Cant’ Stand It” finds an actual groove. It’s a hell of a good time and it does what a great covers album should: the band never lets their deep, enduring love get in the way of inspiration or imagination.

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