Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – We’re The Bastards (Album Review)

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons - We're the Bastards

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – We’re The Bastards
Released: November 13th, 2020 

Lineup

Phil Campbell | Guitar
Todd Campbell | Guitar
Tyla Campbell | Bass
Dane Campbell | Drums
Neil Starr | vocals

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When Lemmy Kilmister died and Motorhead ended, guitarist Phil Campbell wasn’t ready to retire so recruited his very talented sons and Attack! Attack! (UK) singer Neil Starr to get back in the studio and out on the road. Their second album, We’re the Bastards, features the same energetic blues-infused rock riffs that Phil brought to Motorhead, though with Starr’s more dynamic vocal range, he is able to really get some jamming going, more akin to Slash’s collaborations with Myles Kennedy than his former band. 

The first two tracks get you straight into the Bastards mood. ‘We’re the Bastards’ is going to open many a gig when the time comes, and likely for many years after that. It is the sort of rebel rocker anthem a festival crowd will get into as well, with an easy to chant chorus. ‘Son of a Gun’ is similarly singable, with a killer cliche laden hook. It is also a belter, sure to please crowds with the simplistic politically minded lyrics. It isn’t going to inspire a revolution but has just enough angst to work well for the crowd. This is music for a good time, so there isn’t much to the message beyond ignorance and war are bad. I have found myself randomly singing both choruses in the shower so that is a fair endorsement. 

‘Promises are Poison’ slows it down a bit with a bit of boogie in the riff, while ‘Born to Roam’ is a hard country tune with plenty of swagger, that perfectly captures the outlaw vibe the band seeks, as Starr admits the road is their home. Phil gets some wah wahs going on the solo too. ‘Animals’ sounds like a classic driving riff, something Lemmy would be excited by, as they go for speed and Starr spits his vocals: he’s “not addicted”, but “just can’t walk away.” Totally playlist worthy as you prepare for your next road trip. The winding solo is really crisp too before the Campbell boys spend some time just belting on that riff. ‘Bite my Tongue’ has a sweet fiddly riff, though the lyrics are a bit bland, and the song doesn’t quite go anywhere. However they should be commended for the lyric, “just shut your mouth, cause every time it opens, shit just falls out”, which at least got a chuckle. 

Ultimately, all the hallmarks of a decent hard rock album are here. ‘Desert Song’ is a slow blues jam with harmonica and a longer, more expressive solo. ‘Keep your Jacket On’ is another driving rhythm with stripperiffic lyrics that don’t exactly do much for gender relations. ‘Lie to Me’ is more on the groove side, with Starr using a raspier tone and Dane and Tyla keeping it seriously tight while Phil and Todd get a bit flashier on guitars. ‘Riding Straight to Hell’, with its refrain of “Set me free!”, sounds like the devil revving up a Harley and will get plenty of air time at motorcycle rallies. ‘Hate Machine’ is similar to ‘Animals’ in that it puts the pedal down and speeds along with some sick guitar leads peppering the ride. ‘Destroyed’ is a killer two minute punk tune, with plenty of “fuck you” and middle fingers sticking it to the man. Again, this will be a cracker live. Tyla gets the spotlight to kick off ‘Waves’ with a bass solo, before the guitars kick in with some melodic picking. Closing out with a power ballad is a pretty standard decision and it gives Starr a chance to shine with his soaring vocals. The solo is suitably epic and builds into an up tempo, slick riff that will get the phone lights switched off and get the crowd headbanging again. It fades out and leaves listeners with the sense that the Bastard Sons will just keep jamming all night. 

We’re the Bastards is a fun throwback to when albums were really just about rocking out. It is familiar, instantly recognisable and has plenty of swagger.  The production is modern enough for the style, although the simple lyrics don’t really work for me, despite Starr’s considerable vocal talent. Phil Campbell remains a badass guitar player and if you’re a fan of bands like Airbourne and Motorhead you’ll jump on this and play the shit out of it. 

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons - We're the Bastards

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – We’re The Bastards tracklisting

  1. We’re The Bastards 
  2. Son Of A Gun 
  3. Promises Are Poison 
  4. Born To Roam 
  5. Animals 
  6. Bite My Tongue 
  7. Desert Song
  8. Keep Your Jacket On 
  9. Lie To Me 
  10. Riding Straight To Hell 
  11. Hate Machine 
  12. Destroyed
  13. Waves 

Rating: 6 out of 10
We’re the Bastards is Out November 13th, 2020 via Nuclear Blast. Pre-Order here
Review by KJ Draven. Insta: @kjdraven

Revisit out chat with the man and legend that is Phil Campbell right here

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