The Casanovas

The Casanovas

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AC/DC's shadow looms large over all Australian hard rock bands; so much so that many have consciously done everything within their power to disassociate themselves with that overwhelming legacy, with wildly varying results. Melbourne's Casanovas, on the other hand, have chosen to embrace it when it suits them, and, much like the Young brothers before them, the Boyce siblings, Tommy and Patrick (replaced halfway through this album's sessions by Jaws Stanley), plus vocalist/bassist Damo Campbell, appear perfectly content to indulge in the same form of unadorned, blue collar rock & roll that Chuck Berry might have played once bigger and louder amplifiers came along. Unlike the Youngs, the Casanovas are of course no AC/DC, but then neither are worthy competitors like New Orleans' Supagroup, Texas' Young Heart Attack, or, closer to home, New Zealand's the Datsuns (who knows what to make of the karaoke-like Rhino Bucket?), so where does their self-titled debut rank among those of other Angus offspring? Rather highly, actually, because the Casanovas not only succeed at pulling off mirror-image AC/DC blues bombers like "Livin' in the City," "Shake It," and evergreen first single, "10 Outta 10," with remarkably little evident guilt; they also know how and when to step out of the box without embarrassing themselves. "Here's to It" and "Runnin' So Late" swagger far closer to Aerosmith, "No Time for Love" draws musical cues from earliest rock & roll and Little Richard's "Wooo-hoo!" shouts, the more restrained, slightly psychedelic "Strange Dreams" swerves toward Kiss and Cheap Trick's power pop sensibilities, and while "Break Your Heart" shares most of AC/DC's chassis, there's a Southern rock flavor coursing through its engine. Ultimately, it's this combination of open admiration and confident versatility that allows this album to sink in easier and deeper than most, boding well for the Casanovas' future exploits.

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