Golden Earring

Bloody Buccaneers

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Dutch group Golden Earring has always inhabited a strange and twisted territory between hard rock and straight-ahead pop that's also home to Blue Oyster Cult and modern acts like Monster Magnet. On Bloody Buccaneers, Golden Earring doesn't come up with any real surprises, but manages to deliver a surprisingly consistent record of the same sort of hooky, roots-influenced heavy guitar music that made the band famous. Despite the lack of any songs as good as "Radar Love," Golden Earring's career-making mega-hit, the material is pretty decent and played with panache. Barry Hay's powerful vocals are still wonderfully sandpaper tough and George Kooymans' guitar playing is as ballsy and filled with punk rock 'tude as ever. The production (with the exception of the huge, hair metal-style drum sounds) is fortunately straight-ahead, which allows the band's ragged enthusiasm to shine through. Perhaps because English is not the band's native language, the lyrics on Bloody Buccaneers often have a slightly skewed perspective, which makes for some cool, left of center moments, particularly on the title track and the power ballad "Going to the Run," which sounds like an odd marriage of David Johanson and Lloyd Cole if they were produced by Mutt Lange. Overall, Bloody Buccaneers is an honest, energetically performed record of meaty if not always immediately accessible songs played by veteran rock musicians. Golden Earring should be lauded for its attention to quality and unwillingness to compromise.

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