STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE
Released on August 2, 2017 (Ginger Likes)
With a couple self-produced singles in the can laying in wait to be rocked on to the world, it was brought to my rock and roll attention that Ginger Likes‘ most recent release hadn’t been reviewed for Sleaze Roxx. Well seeing as this is perhaps the coolest hard rockin’, sleaze, glam, and metal loaded website on the webs and Ginger Likes deliver raw rock and roll from one of the most sleazy rock band regions on the planet, I made it my personal mission to slap the two together and get to rockin’ and writing. Yeah, woe is me right? That ever so tiring task of listening to rock and roll and then sharing my opinion. Gee my life is tough… not!
A product of Groningen, Netherlands circa 2015, rockers Ginger Likes reference a huge jones for just up around the bend Swedish bands like Backyard Babies and Hardcore Superstar as well as legendary American rock groups KISS and Mötley Crüe when describing their sound, which makes it hard to not want to investigate further. Yeah, I know when I mentioned that I’d be checking out a hard rock band from the Netherlands to a few of my musician pals, immediately visions of death and black metal bands pounded in their heads and I guess with good reason but obviously with a name like Ginger Likes, these guys have to be dirty rock and roll. Right?
Kicking off with “Welcome To Rock & Roll”, a cool rockin’ track not too far removed from KISS‘ tune “Strutter” but as if done by The Hellacopters, the point is immediately driven home that Ginger Likes are indeed the Netherlands’ version of sleaze rock. Maybe the title is the band’s way of telling we clueless bunch outside their country that sleazy rock and roll does live and breath in Groningen, which of course is a no-brainer once I’ve been told that the city also has a red-light district or two. Since the days when The Beatles blasted through speed-aided over-night sets of rock and roll in Hamburg, Germany, it’s been a foregone conclusion — where there’s a wild and loud dirty time… there’s wild and loud dirty rock and roll.
I mean c’mon, it’s right there in the tune titles man. “In It for the Lust” is a riff rocker that kicks off with frontman Ypke “looking for a cheap romance” which I’m not sure says more about him or the quality of prospective dates at the ready heck he even tells whoever’s listening that they “don’t have to like me.” Right before that, Ginger Likes serenade with the catchy, bordering on the edge of AOR sing-a-long ditty “I’m No Angel” before jumping into boosted up power pop ala “When the Drugs Kick In” just a couple clicks later. Yeah, it’s nothing dirty new and we’ve heard all this dirty wordy before but that’s cool. Groundbreaking, it’s not meant to be after all. The title of the album is Style Over Substance.
Now in the name of hair metal rock and roll, if you’re the kind of old school rocker that likes your platters served with a single power ballad meant to get your better half on board well, it’s not here. Fast, burning rock and roll numbers by the way of tracks like “I Want The World” and “Join the Party”, you’ll find for sure. Cool fist raising anthems? Well they’re a plenty in the way of “My Enemy” and rock and roll battle cry “Raise the Horns.” Toss in a bit of a hook ala “Memory’s Good” and Ginger Likes pretty much cover all the bad boy boogie bases except that dang power ballad. I did mention that whole red light district thing right? It’s a fast and dirty thing plus who has the time when your paying by the minute right?
Bottom line — this is just good plain fun rock and roll and it’s not so much that the band is Style Over Substance as it is what they lack in substance, they kind of try their hardest to make up in style. Ginger Likes obviously could hold their own opening for the likes of those heroes mention earlier but in a way that is more akin to say Pretty Boy Floyd or German band Shameless as opposed to the raw, pumped up grit of Hardcore Superstar or the punk-infused rock of Backyard Babies. But that’s cool. I kind of like it better when a band doesn’t try and compare themselves to another band.
The songs are solid, straight up rock and roll and that’s something the world needs a bit more of. Literary works of art, yeah, not a chance. Greatest lyrics of all time? No way but again, they don’t have to be. What Ginger Likes do excel in is with a great rhythm section in bassist Aas and drummer Marcel, catchy, cool lead guitar from Toine, and solid rhythm guitar and energetic vocals from that dude (Ypke) with the hard to pronounce name. Oh yeah, and now having had another three years to bond, Ginger Likes have also provided a solid enough rock and roll record in Style Over Substance to make rock fans curious as to what the band will unleash on them next.
But for now, “Welcome To Rock & Roll” Netherlands style and until then…”Raise The Horns.”
01. Welcome To Rock & Roll
02. Trust Me
03. I’m No Angel
04. In It for the Lust
05. When The Drugs Kick In
06. Raise The Horns
07. Memory’s Good
08. I Want The World
09. My Enemy
10. Join The Party
Ypke – vocals, guitar
Marcel – drums
Aas – bass
Martin Harlief – lead guitar
Willem van der Tuuk – additional guitar
Produced by Willem van der Tuuk
Executive producer: Bram Staats
Reviewed by John Stoney Cannon for Sleaze Roxx, June 2020
Ginger Likes‘ “I Want The World” video:
Ginger Likes‘ “I’m No Angel” lyric video: