The Datsuns : The Datsuns

'Highway To Hell' is paved with a whole lot of fun...

Shame is not a concept known to [a]The Datsuns[/a]. If it was, they would never have called a song ‘Motherfucker From Hell’. They might have thought twice about the riff that ignites ‘Sittin’ Pretty’ (not to mention that apostrophe). And certainly, the guitar solo on ‘Freeze, Sucker’ would have been struck from their ‘To Do’ list.

Outdated like a mechanic’s calendar, these four hirsute New Zealanders with more AC/DC records than job skills now find themselves in the curious position of being “[I]up to the minute[/I]”. They might not be as cute or as hip as their new-breed siblings but it’s Dolf, Phil, Matt and Christian Datsun (gearheads might prefer to call them Sunny, Cherry, Laurel and Micra) who are becoming most at home on MTV, hunted by record companies like maidens on a medieval quest. Maybe it was the long hair that confused the A&R guys: more likely it was the certain knowledge that [a]The Datsuns[/a]’ neck-bracing take on rock’n’roll would hit as many buttons with fickle hipsters as die-hard rock fans.

The denim waistcoat has just been passed to a new generation, a genuine Stone-Age coronation. It’s also as much fun as you can have with your clothes covered in iron-on patches, a great Proustian rush of beer and smoke, like walking past a pub air-conditioning unit. [a]The Datsuns[/a] excavate their prehistory with an ease and grace that belies the fundamental Clearasil gaucheness of

much of their output (‘Lady’, unreconstructed like the Acropolis, is just hilarious). Yet they machine-gun these songs with a fusillade of fabulous moments – Dolf Datsun stuttering to a perfect stop in ‘Motherfucker From Hell’, the stock-car squall in the middle of ‘Fink For The Man’, the closing guitar striptease of ‘You Build Me Up’. It’s the excellent single ‘In Love’ or the slutty, Iggy-in-glitter strut of ‘Harmonic Generator’ that really stand out, though, the gum-chewing, evil-cheerleader backing vocals of [a]The Datsuns[/a]

throwing a little light into the guitar shades.

It might not be the deathless rock thrill of the year – compared with the 360 Modena Ferrari of ‘Songs For The Deaf’ it’s a dino-powered Flintstones car – but it’s exhilarating, daft and triggers spontaneous hair growth better than a vat of Pantene. Good intentions be damned: [a]The Datsuns[/a]’ Highway To Hell is paved with a whole lot of fun.

Victoria Segal