Live, they're a fixture. But Brass Knuckle Heartbreak marks the first time Grande Nationals have gotten it together for an actual album. And from "Meet me at the Hotel" (with that great "Down in Detroit!" harmony), the convincingly salacious "Pink Sweater," and "Spend the Night" full of devilish grins, "tonight/right" rhyme schemes, and stay-out-late scenarios the Motor City quartet largely gets it right. They've been playing long enough together as a live unit to know how rough the edges should be, and those are here too; there's locked-tight rhythm at the center; and vocalist Stevie Michael comes correct with a practiced Alice Cooper/Steven Tyler sneer, even if he doesn't bring much of anything new to it. But this is hard rock. It doesn't really have to be new it only has to stomp straight ahead, and be confident that it's never very far away from another Friday night, or the inevitable white lightning hangover to follow.
Dec. 23 at the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966. With Koffin Kats, Casket Gasket and Gashog.
Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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