Released on July 9, 2021 (Rock of Angels Records)
With Airbourne continuing what appears to be their self-imposed exile until apparently sometime in 2022 and really not having released a really good album since 2016’s Breakin’ Outta Hell, French rockers Overdrivers seem poised to take over Airbourne‘s mantle. What differentiates Overdrivers from Airbourne in recent years is the quality of the songs from the former compared to the latter. Back in 2018, Overdrivers released the very good album She’s On Her Period, which finished at #3 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018 behind only two records that I consider to be some of the best of the last decade — The Lazys‘ Tropical Hazards and Kissin’ Dynamite‘s Ecstasy. Airbourne on the other hand feel like a bit of a band in decline record wise as their last album was Boneshaker in late October 2019, which didn’t measure up to their four prior full-length studio albums. For instance, Boneshaker didn’t even crack the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2019. In addition, with the Covid pandemic rearing its ugly head, things have been quite silent from the Airbourne camp aside from them announcing various festival gigs in the future.
With a new label behind them (ROAR – Rock of Angels Records), Overdrivers have elected to release a three-song EP to presumably keep their momentum going a little bit during the Covid pandemic. While there is no doubt that I would prefer a full-length studio album from the French rockers, a rocking three-song EP is a nice way to remind me how much I like Overdrivers and look forward to their next full-length offering. It also helps that Overdrivers‘ new EP Rock Out! has two really stellar songs on it, which will likely be their live set for many years to come. Rock Out! starts off with the faster paced rocker “You Cheated On Me” which will have you head bopping in no time. It’s a straight in your face rocker punctuated by the raspy vocal delivery by Adrien Desquirez. The rhythm section of Sebastian Lorquet (bass), Florian Morgano (drums) and Desquirez (on rhythm guitar) never lets up while lead guitarist Anthony Clay is allowed to really show his chops during the guitar solo portion of the track. It’s really hard not to like Overdrivers‘ opening number on Rock Out!.
Next up is the slower but still rocking “Factory” which has a big chorus that will have you singing along in no time. This is the type of song that Airbourne delivered quite nicely back in their prime (on their earlier records) and that goes down live so well. There are more than a few nods to AC/DC on this track but in my book, that’s a great thing rather than a negative. Once again, Overdrivers deliver a straightforward rocker that is very hard not to like. Has it been one before? Yes, but who really cares? A great song is a great song, and that’s all that I am looking for. Clay‘s guitar solo on “Factory” is a thing of beauty as well. Overdrivers‘ Rock Out! EP closes with the slower paced “Forever Young” which while enjoyable does not quite measure up to the first two tracks. I would qualify “Forever Young” as an average song that would be on the border on making the cut on an album. While the song might make it onto a full-length album, I find it a bit on a weak side for a three-song EP.
Whatever the case, Overdrivers have delivered a fine EP with Rock Out! to keep their momentum going and have a bit of new material to promote while they are back to playing shows in Europe. Overdrivers have also created a bit of an issue for me when year end comes since the rather short three-song EP Rock Out! possesses two stellar tracks in “You Cheated On Me” and “Factory” that will be difficult to ignore when the best albums of the year have to be evaluated. If you like AC/DC and Airbourne, picking up Overdrivers‘ Rock Out! EP is simply a no brainer.
01. You Cheated On Me
03. Forever Young
Adrien Desquirez – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Anthony Clay – lead guitar, backing vocals
Sebastian Lorquet – bass
Florian Morgano – drums, backing vocals
Recorded by Bertrand Charlet
Mixed by Fred Duquesne
Mastered by Thibault Chaumont
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, September 2021
Overdrivers‘ “You Cheated On Me” video:
Overdrivers‘ “Factory” video: