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Speedealer

Blue Days Black Nights (Rise Up and Fall Records)

It’s been 15 years since the last studio release from Texas band Speedealer, and it’s not until right now, and this brand new effort, that we had any clue just how much they were missed. Because in a world devoid of Motörhead, Blue Days Black Nights is absolutely essential listening.

Having formed in 1992, the band was originally known as REO Speedealer but shortened their name after receiving a cease & desist from apparently humorless soft rockers REO Speedwagon. No matter — they quickly earned a reputation for being one of the gnarliest, snarliest rock & roll bands in existence.

The band’s plus points were the same things that caused confusion though: nobody knew where to place them. Was it doom metal or hardcore punk? Garage rock & roll or grindcore? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter — the music has been consistently amazing and intense.

Thank god, then, that they’re back with this 10-song set after a decade and a half away. Time hasn’t mellowed the band at all; on the contrary, they’ve arguably benefited from some lineup changes. Notably, this is the first studio release with former Swingin’ Dicks singer Daniel Barron fronting them, alongside mainstays Eric Schmidt (guitar) and Harden Harrison (drums). The Buck Pets bassist Ricky Pearson is the other newbie.

Blue Days Black Nights is our first studio recording in 15 years,” drummer Harden Harrison says on the accompanying press release. “Old fans will enjoy it as a continuation/progression from our previous releases and its a perfect introduction to the band for people not familiar with Speedealer. It’s all hard rock yet quite varied in song styles.”

Barron adds, “Speedealer has always enjoyed touring and playing live energetic shows. It’s the same in your face ‘less talk more rock’ shows live. Although we may not tour quite as extensively as in the past, we still try to hit as many cities as we can throughout the year.”

Barron has been performing live with Speedealer since 2016, and that bedding in period has served him well; his voice suits the band beautifully. It’s like he’s gargling lava, a la Negative Approach/Easy Action man John Brannon, with a bit of Al Jourgensen thrown in for good measure.

For the most part, Speadealer is getting back to business as usual here, laying it all out on no-nonsense tracks such as “Losing My Shit” and “Shut Up” — the latter an apparent attack on scenesters: “I don’t give a fuck about who you know, I don’t give a fuck about where you go.”

But then the closing title track offers something a little more poignant and progressive (the title is a nod to ELO). Even when they’re hammering your head, Speedealer is full of surprises.

(Rise Up and Fall Records)