Review: The Amorettes – “Game On”

2015 is set to be the biggest year yet for The Amorettes. Not only are they currently on tour with Europe and Black Star Riders, but their summer festival calendar is also beginning to fill up with appearances at British Steel FestCamden Rocks and Wildfire Festival already confirmed.

On top of that, The Amorettes are set to release their second album, Game On, on 23rd March and we don’t mind telling you, this is an album we’ve been waiting on for a very long time.

The album opens with Bull By the Horns and first impressions are good. First there’s a meaty riff, then some thunderous drums and then we’re treated to a fantastic bass line… Then it all goes downhill.

When you’re album is being produced by Chris Tsangarides, it’s safe to say expectations are high. I mean, this man has worked with the likes of Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and Depeche Mode, to name but a few, so it’s pretty much a given that he knows his stuff.

So with that in mind, I can’t help but wonder what in the world possessed him to play around with Gill Montgomery’s vocals to the point, at times, they no longer sound like hers. Now normally high production value is a good thing, but when it no longer sounds like the band you’re producing, it isn’t. There are sections of this album that are so over produced, that not only is it not representative of the band’s sound, they have no hope whatsoever about ever delivering it in a live environment.

It isn’t just Gill’s vocals that have been tweaked either, rather than compliment and fill out the lead vocals, the backing vocals do nothing more but cause annoyance. Granted, The Amorettes have a very limited vocal range, but that doesn’t mean I need their vocals over produced to a point they I’d rather turn the album off than continue listening to them.

On the song front, fans of The Amorettes fans will know exactly what to expect. Many will have already heard the single Fire At Will and they’ve played much of their new material on their current tour with Europe and Black Star Riders. It’s rock at its most basic.

Anyone who has a copy of Haulin’ Ass will be familiar with both Hot and Heavy and Son of A Gun as they’ve both been rerecorded for Game On. Now while I normally hate bands who rerecord old material, that is far from the worst thing The Amorettes have done here.

I am of course referring to Daddy Got Money, or as I like to call it Bedrock 2.0 with different lyrics. Now, the reason why I call it Bedrock 2.0 is because what The Amorettes have done, is take a song from the first album (In this case Bedrock if you hadn’t already guessed), recycled it beat for beat, stick in some new lyrics and release under the guise of being a new song.

To an extent I can understand rerecording old songs, there are plenty of bands out there who are guilty of it, but I draw the line at taking old material and giving it a sloppy makeover. I’m obviously only speaking for myself here, but to me, I’m afraid that just across a bit lazy.

My biggest gripe about Game On is the fact it does little more than highlight the lack of evolution in The Amorettes over the past four or five years, and at times, Game On even feels like a step backwards for them. Long gone are the edgy lyrics of Talk Nerdy to Me and Pop Goes the Weasel and instead what we’re treated to is bland, radio friendly lyrics that just feel watered down so they can market themselves to a younger.

Is that the reason for the recycling of Bedrock I wonder?

There are certainly fans of The Amorettes that will love Game On no matter what, and undoubtedly condemn this review as a result. To me though,the album feels uninspired from start to finish, and in the end The Amorettes come across like a band going through the motions, rather than one trying to leave their mark on the world.

I really wanted this album to blow me away, I really did, but unfortunately it fails to deliver in pretty much every way imaginable and if I’m brutally honest, I really don’t see me revisiting this album any time soon, if at all.

by Edward Laing