Josh Homme left an empty space back in March with the disappointing Lullabies to Paralyze, and Manchester’s No Hope in New Jersey have every intention of trying to fill it. Steady Diet of Decline is their first album, and while they may not be quite ready to challenge the great ginger one for the stoner rock crown, they’re heading in the right direction. Has the UK finally managed to produce another decent rock band that isn’t either moaning all the time or just being ironic? Let’s see…
It all starts very well. New single Decline opens proceedings, and it’s fantastic, with a great, deep, driving, Velvet Revolver‘y main riff that swaps turns with singer Andy Garrett before hitting a cheeky little Beatles harmony in the chorus. Bad Luck kicks in much the same way, with lots of swaggering guitar and, despite the serious tone to the lyrics, a real sense of fun. Despite the American influences, they don’t completely hide their origins, sounding thoroughly Mancunian without ever sounding like any other Manchester band so far.
Steady Diet of Decline was recorded in just two weeks after intense touring and it shows, giving us an album full of freshness and energy but getting a little samey in places. There’s huge riffs everywhere (Narcolepsy and In the Yard are other notable specimens), which is great – it’s just that without more variety, the riffs begin to lose their impact when you listen to the whole album.
NHiNJ have a list of their favourite albums on their website, and the influence of each can be heard on the album at some point, reminding us that this is the sound of a band making the music they love. A side effect of such honesty is that now I’m certain the band must have been thinking a little of Doolittle when writing Feel Free to Fit, or The Clash when writing Narcolepsy. The sound is very much their own, though, and both songs are ace. Metallica‘s Kill ‘em All is also on the list, as is some Sepultura, so I’m already waiting for the next album to see whether the band will throw in a speed metal classic or two to add some welcome variety.
All in all this is not just a solid rock debut (which it is) – it’s also a broadside across the Atlantic, a reminder to those still in the Stone Age that the future of rock’n'roll waits for no band. Just like Josh Homme desperately needs to poach Nick Oliveri back from the Dwarves, No Hope in New Jersey just need that little bit of rock’n'roll insanity to lift them into what they show every possibility of becoming – premier league rock stars.