The Datsuns — Eye To Eye (Hellsquad Records/Cargo Records)
During the early noughties The Datsuns were the engine room of the new breed of garage rock.
More supercharged sports car than Japanese saloon beloved of 80s dads, theirs was a raucous sound ripe for ripping it up on a Saturday night.
But beneath the bonnet The Datsuns always boasted a depth and ambition that resonated with classic rock connoisseurs, the blues brigade and even the odd progger.
And that’s why the genre-fluid Eye To Eye represents a welcome and reassuring return for one of indie rock’s much-missed treasures.
This richly rewarding album — recorded remotely and regularly revisited during the last five years — might have finally accelerated a natural evolution.
But its core sound remains true to the band’s breakout self-titled debut and superior follow-up Outta Sight/Outta Mind.
On Eye To Eye, The Datsuns’ trademark driving hard rock is juxtaposed with 70s psych, biting punk, Bowie-esque flamboyance and Acca Dacca-inspired groove.
So park the preconceptions.
Welcome back garage rock’s long-lost journeymen.
And slip straight into the rock and roll fastlane.
Look into the future with Eye To Eye
Eye To Eye is a visionary piece of work.
The Datsuns have clearly set their sights on global domination after years in the wilderness.
And the band’s ‘comeback’ album offers a fuzzy glimpse of the future…and a few glorious glances at the past.
The visceral Bite My Tongue is Lenny Kravitz meets Jet at an AC/DC convention.
And the mind-bending Brain To Brain — with its barbed-wire guitar solo — is heavy on the groove-laden psyche.
Dehumanise is an altogether punkier affair as bass-wielding frontman Dolf De Borst tears into a vocal tour de force.
And there are hints of a Dr Who soundtrack underpinning In Record Time.
It’s The Datsuns dressed up as The Spiders from Mars. Kinda.
This unpredictable crew might appear to have been in hibernation since 2014’s Deep Sleep.
But they’ve never been on hiatus.
De Borst and co. have never really stopped working.
OK — so Def Leppard completed Hysteria in less time than it’s taken The Datsuns to drop Eye To Eye.
But a meticulous approach to making a first album in seven years has clearly paid dividends.
Datsuns shine with Dolf De Borst
De Borst is a fascinating character.
A rhythm king with a unique howl, he’s less Lemmy and more Glenn Hughes.
Never more convincing that when he’s whipping a crowd into a frenzy at a Datsuns live show (remember them?), he’s a man of many talents.
Almost 20 years after dropping that dreamy debut, De Borst boasts a richer tone and a wider range in 2021.
To call his vocals controlled would be a disservice to the passion underpinning Eye To Eye.
But there’s a greater understanding of what’s needed and when.
And his journey towards a Hughes-esque classic rock peak is gathering pace.
It’s an exciting transformation.
And an unlikely transition.
But don’t be surprised if De Borst and The Datsuns become the Deep Purple of the roaring 20s.
The Datsuns are rock and roll disruptors
Eye To Eye has come out of nowhere at a time when rock needs disruptors.
It’s a record that roars out of the blocks and never lets up.
Check out Raygun’s almost trippy prog.
And compare it with the heavy blues rock riffage at the heart of Warped Signals.
The Datsuns have thrown everything at this attention-grabbing album.
It’s all held together by the bullish songcraft that gave Black Rebel Motorcycle Club an almighty kick up the arse two decades ago.
But Eye To Eye’s focus in firmly on the future.
And if you thought The Datsuns’ best days were in the rearview mirror then think again.
De Borst and his buddies are back where they belong.
Setting the agenda, sensing an opportunity and never giving a shit.