D4 / The Datsuns

They're always lumped together (well, by Entertainment Weekly, anyway), and with good reason: They be Kiwi, got suck in the '70s like Hoovers gone haywire and come bearing songs with "fuck" in the title ("MF from Hell," proclaim The Datsuns; "Rocknroll Motherfucker," boast D4). The only thing separating the two, far as I can tell: The Datsuns' family tree extends from the branches marked "AC/DC" and "Thin Lizzy" (which makes them...the Toadies?), while D4 crawls out as far as the limb, into which someone has carved into a giant heart "Johnny Thunders + Joey Ramone." Listen to both long enough (oh, 78 seconds or two complete songs, whichever comes first) and you'll realize they're both just classic-rock records in different shades of black leather; surprising neither came with a pack of Zig-Zags, though I'm pretty sure those were seeds in the sleeves.

The Datsuns, fronted by Dolf De Datsun and consisting of three other lads "adopted" into the fold (how very Ramones), are the more "progressive" of the tandem; they sneak across the dateline and land, on occasion, in late-'80s Seattle. New York City, too--"Harmonic Generator" is the closest thing to a Jon Spencer outtake since every other song on a Jon Spencer disc. But sooner or later, it's later than sooner; whenever The Datsuns pops up in the car's 10-disc changer without warning, I'd swear the radio hopped onto a classic-rock station digging deep into High Voltage. (Or the last 23 minutes of some live version of "Smoke on the Water" I blessedly missed in junior high.) D4, better because there's more bounce per quarter ounce, keep it just as real...real old, dig? You can see them now, four kids in a New Zealand basement dissecting every Johnny Thunders storm from "Pirate Love" (surfaces here in its entirety, natch) and breaking down the equation that proved Rock=MC5 while Mom yells down the stairs for them to turn it down or, just maybe, shout it shout it shout it out loud. This year's Strokes-Vines-Parkinsons-Hives-Libertines, if they weren't last century's everything else.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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