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Nazareth - 2008 The Newz

ARTIST: Nazareth
ALBUM: The Newz
LABEL: Edel Records
SERIAL: 0188272ERE
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Dan McCafferty - vocals * Jimmy Murrison - guitars * Pete Agnew - bass * Lee Agnew - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Goin' Loco * 02 Day At The Beach * 03 Liar * 04 See Me * 05 Enough Love * 06 Warning * 07 Mean Streets * 08 Road Trip * 09 Gloria * 10 Keep On Travellin' * 11 Loggin' On * 12 The Gathering * 13 Dying Breed



2008 sees the 40th anniversary of Scotland's favourite rockin' sons - Nazareth. Along with other classic rockers such as Foghat, Budgie, Status Quo and Jethro Tull, this band - despite their vast discography, are severely under-represented on this website. We need to do something to redress the balance I reckon! A few years ago I met a rabid Nazareth fan on a website forum who preceded to lecture me on everything the band released, including bootlegs, singles, rarities, videos etc. Little did I realise how much passion there was regarding Nazareth right up to the current day. Like an aged body that needs to go in for a transplant or a life saving operation as it gets older, the same analogy can be applied to some of our 'dinosaur' rockers out there - Nazareth included. An injection of youth has been applied to the band. Not so much a makeover or a band-aid solution. More like a bionic retrofit to the key parts of the band.. the guitars and the drums. Both Murrison and Lee Agnew have been members for some time now, and they do provide the youthful sting (guitars) and muscle (drums) to Nazareth's well worn retro-rock sound. Now signed to Edel Records, The Naz join labelmates Deep Purple in the 'lets get back to what we do best' tradition.

The Songs
Nazareth as a recording outfit, shifted styles with the times, not being stuck too deep into any one genre. On 'The Newz', the band shuffle through these styles like a rewind of their past discography including the busy years of their early 70's celtic period, mid 70's hard rock, and their 80's AOR/radio rock era. In 2008, they've chucked it all into one big jukebox for all to hear.

A very retro intro kicks things off with 'Goin' Loco'. It's funky, rich with attitude, even if they are singing about losing one's sanity! Aaaargh!! Get me out of here!

Moving on to round two. Very easy going and radio friendly is the light-hearted 'Day At The Beach'. It kinda feels summery all round. A nice harmless track. A single perhaps? Certainly a change-up after the beat up of round one!

I wonder if the Republicans will take affront at the Naz's pinprick attack on GWB with the track 'Liar'. Well, the whole world knows G Dubya to be a teller of tall tales, so I guess it's only right to sing about his indiscretions. Interesting to see if the band put this one in the live set!

'See Me' is the album's 'singalong' shindig. The sort of tune you'd hear belted out at a bar down by the sea.. a sea shanty perhaps?

'Enough Love' reminds of Thunderclap Newman's 'Something's In The Air', particularly on the verses. Probably not the worst song here, in fact it would've been a better for some of their 80's records.

Jimmy Murrison provides some coarse guitar work on 'Warning', the whole thing sounds very L.A hair metal believe it or not! Will this band suffer from an identity crisis? Nah - never!

You'd be hoping that with a title like 'Mean Streets', that the music would match. It doesn't unfortunately. It rocks but doesn't 'rip your face off'.. if you know what I mean.

'Road Trip' flays away with reckless abandon, a la AC/DC. The riffs come at you full-frontal - I reckon Naz's younger brigade of fans will enjoy this one, less so the oldies!

'Gloria' is probably the album's key moment. The story of a man in prison, there are some telling lyrics to this song, but when the music starts rocking out at the halfway mark, you just know this is a little gem of a tune. My guess is that one will be a regular track in their live set.

'Keep On Travellin' has a stomping vibe to it. To me it could be Rose Tattoo doing a cover of 'Nutbush City Limits'.. lol!

'Loggin' On' is the sort of track that todays youth can relate to. The social networking has moved away from face to face liaison to laptop-to-laptop relationships, as this track alludes to. Musically though, it's pretty sparse.

Rising out of the dark is 'The Gathering'. A stalking, prowling kinda song, it's quite intense, with a fair whack of power behind it. Certainly not the fun loving music we've heard before.

The finale 'Dying Breed' touches on all those instances where the future has superceded the past, making things and people redundant. It's a ballad, not much musically happening here.. sort of loopy and repetitive, offset by some poignant lyrics.

There is a hidden track too, which includes German lyrics of some sort, sounding like an epic metal thing with a ton of weird effects.

In Summary
All in all, 'The Newz' is a well overdue studio album from this recognised dinosaur. Probably not reaching the stellar heights of their mid 70's period, but they will make a whole bunch of die-hard supporters very happy indeed. During 2008, the band are on their 40th anniversary tour, which will see them on the road all over the planet right up until the end of the year. Given that, they should be coming to a town nearest you, unless you live in Australia and New Zealand that is - where they won't be touring at all! In the next wee while, there should be an opportunity for us to throw the virtual pen at more past Nazareth releases.

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