Claim To Fame - Scorpion vs Tarantula (self released)
Their influences couldn’t be more obvious if they’d stamped the words: ‘AC/DC’, ‘Dictators’ and ‘Joan Jett’ on their heads with a branding iron. If you like this hard rock outfit from Arizona, the good news is that there are two more recent albums with which to assault your senses.
Like “She Goes hard” (2010) and “Don’t Waste it” (2012) before it, “Claim To Fame” was recorded at Jim Diamond’s Ghetto Recorders in Detroit. The progression in the band's sound and songs over time is appreciable but their hasn't been radical change over the three years. These guys (and girls) are remarkably consistent and the latest album finds the band fully-formed and brimful of piss and bad manners.
Fronted by Amazonian singer L. Hotshot (with a name like it’s obvious that if you wanted subtlety you came to the wrong place), Scorpion vs Tarantula plays a savage brand of rock and roll that wastes no time in going for your throat. L. has a voice that hovers somewhere between Bon Scott and Wendy Case of The Paybacks and her vocal could strip paint at 20 paces. She does not do power ballads.
The band behind her are no slouches, either. Bassist Tana Santana and drummer Ian Lee lock in brutally and Jay Bennett’s guitar dive-bombs and stings without ever lapsing into cliches.
Opener “Tomboy” is a Romantics cover that lays it on the line from the get-go with the lyric: “I get off when you get on me.” Enough said. “Hello Mr Romeo” uses the time-honoured device of an answering machine message from a redneck to jump into a ragged Dead Boys-style nagger that’s over in two minutes. “Chasing Alive” is even better with L’s ravaged voice at the outset kicking the song into action.
The title track shakes its cage with an insistent descending chord progression and the most pissed off vocal this side of OFF’s Keith Morris, while the bass-line on “Bring You Back” is hard enough to crack nuts on. It’s pointless to argue with this stuff.
There’s more of the same on the “Don’t Waste It” album and a bit more variety, too, with horns impregnating “Shoutin’ In The City”. “Doin’ It Wrong” provides the obligatory change of pace while “Dance Donia” is the stand-out head-banger, the attention seeker you could see being thrown in at the end of the set to keep the adrenalin pumping.
“She Goes Hard” might have been the debut album with a slightly different line-up but doesn’t lose much by comparison with the discs that followed.
The band's sound is less refined here but still as full-on. The rocket engine jams of “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and the tub thumping “Switch It On And Shake” make it pretty evident that SVS would be a primo live act. The good news is that it's largely translated well to the studio.
Apart from the serpentine “Lady of Leisure there’s not a lot of light and shade on this one but who cares when there’s a scorcher like “Hard Knocks” struggling to clock in at much more than a minute? The title tune sits on a killer feel with Jim Diamond’s guest piano and some chick backing vocals to cast off concerns of the band being one trick ponies.
Intensity levels on all three discs are on par with that one great album ("And You?") by Manitoba's Wild Kingdom which similarly bridged the gap between sdpeed metal and punk. You'd be smart to buy the records via the link below before they sell out or the band gets huge.
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