REVIEWS:

Admitting to being from rich-boy country (Santa Barbara, California) may not be the best way to publicize your band in the hot rod genre. Fans of this music don't dig pretense, they demand simplicity: It simply must kick ass. Well, count Blazing Haley in, Santa Barbara or not. The opening track here, "Train to Nowhere", smokes like a rear-hit Pinto: sinister surf riffs mutate fast into smash-mouth punk chording a la Social Distortion while singer Matt Armor croons an unforgettably catchy chorus like the king of tough-boy '50s 'billy, Eddie Cochran hisself. Drummer Chris Story's hyper-hyperactive tempos keep this baby rolling at top speed - the man must have black coffee for blood. Check "End of the Line" and "Back for No Good Reason" and the band's self-titled theme song for details - these beasts bust out at breakneck speeds and cross the finish line well under the three-minute mark. While the distinctly anti-Chevy sentiments of "V-12 Ford" may be a little troubling, we must remember, emotions are bound to run high at a pace like this.

While quiet stuff ain't what these boys do best, a pair of admirably restrained ballads are necessary to cool the jets a bit. "Vegas" is a truly classic tearjerker, recanting the tragic tale of a lovelorn 14-year old with a burnin' need to get his girl to Vegas - and no driver's license to do it. Blazing Haley finishes the CD strong with a couple of real scorchers, "Back for No Good Reason" and "End of the Line", both of which suggest that the Reverend Horton Heat should fortify his psychobilly pulpit pronto - conquest is imminent. Yeah, Santa Barbara may be rich-boy country, all right, but Blazing Haley sure don't play like rich boys. These cats is hungry. (And check the pix of their beaters at www.blazinghaley,com if ya don't believe me.) For information, contact: Cooler, Dept. HR01, P.O. Box 149, Santa Barbara, CA 93102)

JOHN PECORELLI