Fueled by the well-honed, boozy fury of their live show, the Datsuns’ 2002 debut was a memorably rumpled jumble of lyrical machismo and hamfisted fretboard heroics. It got away with a cut called “MF From Hell” because Dolf de Datsun and mates knew that brash cuss was exactly what the biggest amps made you feel. Unfortunately, there’s nothing as immediately addictive on Outta Sight/Outta Mind, the New Zealanders’ John Paul Jones-helmed follow-up. “Blacken My Thumb” is a suitably stuttering opener, and the cocksure “Girl’s Best Friend” rocks a crunch and organ-fueled chorus worthy of vintage Sweet. And yet, too much of Outta Sight fades into its own tired ’70s allegiances. “Hong Kong Fury” is a great title, but the song lacks the vitality required to energize its recycled main riff. “Messin’ Around” and “Don’t Come Knocking” don’t offer much more than their title statements, either; they’re big, brassy, and messy, but completely forgettable. The Datsuns’ mustachioed forebears found sustainable energy in amplification and memorable hooks. Nowadays, we still need our cock rock to burn on its own crassness, to crackle assuredly with profound stupidity. The Jet hit “Cold Hard B****” proves this. That most of Outta Sight doesn’t make its title potentially prophetic.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.