As far as it goes, if you want to capture someone’s attention, heading your email with ‘the bottleneck is not a sextoy’ is god-damn guaranteed to get it read! It’s a good thing too, because that was Hoboken Division’s opening gambit and if the bottleneck is, indeed, not a sextoy, they may well have managed the aural equivalent with an EP that has rock ‘n’ roll attitude by the skip-full.
The band open with the Q.O.T.S.A-meet-the-Kills thump of ‘Sugardaddy’, a song that couples blues-infused riffs with the attitude of New York rock ‘n’ roll and ties it all together with one of the sexiest voices to be unleashed in a while. It’s the sort of song that insidiously slips under your skin the very first time you hear it and although you may not immediately be aware of its viciously barbed hook, you can guarantee you’ll be humming the darn thing pretty much everywhere you go without even being aware of it for days to come. Far from outstaying its welcome, the song vanishes before it even hits three minutes and then you’re into the rattling, harmonica-abusing shuffle of ‘out of business’ a track which comfortably busts down the door, kicks your ass and heads on out before you’ve even comfortably figured out what’s going on. There have been several bands to cultivate this style of music in recent years – the aforementioned Kills and The Black Rebel motorcycle club being particular highlights and, like those bands, Hoboken division bring a delicious sense of fun to proceedings – this is blues-infused rock as its meant to be – played with conviction and joy and laden with leather and latent sexuality. As if on cue, the band promptly dim the lights and spark up a cigarette for the perfect, laid-back blues of ‘Radar On’ which allows both voice and guitar to sparkle over a stunning four minute work out that you only wish you could hear more of. The final track ‘happier than you’ unleashes some sublime slide guitar, random samples and one last shot of attitude from a band who, if there is any justice in this world, will be making an album as soon as is humanly possible.
Like the best acts Hoboken Division have taken an aging art form and used it to craft timelessly brilliant tunes. These songs could just as easily been crafted in 1970 as now and they sound just perfect. Nothing here is over-done or lacking in sparkle and invention – rather this is the ideal record to soundtrack the end of the day with each track offering adrenalin, passion and great playing. If you have even a touch of rock ‘n’ roll in your soul, then Hoboken Division are a band you should be rushing to check out as soon as you’ve finished reading this – the EP is an unmitigated delight from start to finish, what more needs to be said?