The Datsuns – Outta Sight / Outta Mind

Bloody hell, haven’t those Datsun boys got girlfriends yet? Their first eponymous album was full of hormone-drenched laments about how girls don’t like them (tip: wash your hair) and how cool it is to just sit round doing nothing in particular. I wonder how much of the latter the New Zealand quartet did in the making of Outta Sight / Outta Mind, because a lot of it is suffering from a serious case of “a bit rubbish.” The Datsuns of 2002 were a byword for sexiness, all snake hips, guitar licks and attitude. The Datsuns of 2004 resemble your Dad doing a stupid drunken air-guitar dance to old Rolling Stones songs, probably at a wedding. The fact of the matter is that Dolf and his hairy crew obviously spent more time promoting the point that John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame produced it than writing the actual songs; instead, opting for lackluster re-hashings of the first album.

It’s not all doom and gloom though; the production is pretty tight, and it’s good to see Dolf retain his testosterone-splashed lusty roaring, one perfectly fitting the music and tone. Oddly titled first single “Blacken My Thumb” raids the Iron Maiden crypts and leaves nothing but that giant skeleton-thing, all vocal harmonising and solos. “Girl’s Best Friend” begins with what sounds like the tiniest bit like (gulp) Dire Straits before dissolving into the soundtrack to the funkiest bar fight in town! “Don’t Come Knocking” is also pretty incendiary, like the stream-of-conscious babblings of a hyperactive child pie-eyed on Sunny Delight and food colorings. But the rest of the album is so cripplingly anodyne it’s almost depressing. “Hong Kong Fury,” apart from being a title that even AC/DC would turn down, is awful; it even sounds like the band are ashamed to be playing on it. It’s a lame reworking of the first albums’ “Lady,” with added complacency. “Cherry Lane” includes some cringe-inducing “I love girls, me!” lyrics seemingly written by a chimp running repeatedly into a typewriter; “A boy is a boy / But a Girl is a charm”? The Datsuns don’t really do subtle, but they could at least have tried in this case. The rest of the music is cast adrift in an ocean of widdly-wah fretwanking, and I wouldn’t send anyone to look for them. It’s quite funny how some of the song titles speak for themselves- “That Sure Ain’t Right,” “What I’ve Lost” and “You Can’t Find Me.” Are you talking about your tunes, Dolf?

The world’s changed a lot since their last album. Bands have risen and fallen, some splitting up, and some unfortunately refusing to. It just seems a shame that the Datsuns are no longer relevant today. There are better bands out there that sound a lot like this (Death From Above for example). It seems like the Datsuns have been beaten at their own game. The first album was good, you can certainly write some great songs if you try, but just work that little bit harder to make album number three great.

(V2 Records)

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