Dan Sartain is not of the modern world. His press shots have him in a natty blazer/Brylcreem/horn-rimmed specs combo, cradling a vintage 50s guitar. His records are pure zombie-rockin’ voodoo retrorama, all twanging bass, surf guitar and rockabilly strut. Needless to say, Jack White digs this groovy cat, daddy-o, and so it is that this LP is co-produced by the White Stripe and frequently drips with the sexy sound of teenage rebellion long past. However, when you work within such a vintage aesthetic, avoiding pastiche and faux-irony is tough, and ‘Lives!’ falls foul pretty regularly. Songs like ‘Bohemian Grove’ have an eyebrow arched so high that it feels as if Austin Powers is about to appear from behind the cardboard backdrop with a troupe of pneumatic dancers in cages. It’s a problem that leaves the LP as a whole disconcertingly self-aware and, paradoxically, very modern.

By Sam Walton

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