Much like the ridicule aimed at numerous football clubs who insist on wearing stars on their jerseys to represent past achievements, The Hot Sprockets ran the risk of being ridiculed for placing five stars on the cover of their sophomore album ‘Brother Nature’. Of course, the five stars could have a completely different meaning or may be deliberately tongue in cheek, who’s to know. That said, this is not a five star album, but it’s close, very close.
It’s been quite a ride for the Sprocket lads over the past few years. The first single taken from the album, Soul Brother, wormed it’s way into the ears and hearts of music fans up and down the country, so much so it was named as GoldenPlec’s Irish Song Of The Year for 2013. It may be the record’s lead single but it’s the early days Kings Of Leon-esque Quarter Roam which sets the wheels in motion. Boogie Woogie and Shake Me Off ensure there’s no drop in energy as the Sprockets look to blow away their listener in the first half.
Homeslice offers a more laid back approach as Sprockets show a different side to themselves, both lyrically and sonically with Wayne Sopor’s vocals sounding more like Colm Lynch than Caleb Followill. Up until this point, this is a five star album. However from the opening chords of Heavy On My Mind the momentum is lost as they chop and change styles from one song to the next. Lay Me Down is a nice tune but it lacks originality and seems completely out of place considering what went before it. Show Me The Weight, despite being less than two minutes long is the highlight of the second half of the album as it channels The Hives’ Untutored Youth. Sopor’s vocals are now reminiscent of ‘Elephant’ era Jack White.
With ‘Brother Nature’, The Hot Sprockets have released what should go down as one of the finest Irish rock albums released in recent years. It should be a benchmark for all young up and coming artists on this island, none more so than The Strypes, who are yet to prove their worth when it comes to writing their own material. It’ll deservedly propel The Hot Sprockets to new levels of recognition around the country, it’s just a shame it didn’t fulfil the potential of the first six songs.