Le Reno Amps – Tear It Open

dripping with more sweat than a couple of teenagers upstairs in a bedroom at a house party





The cover sees half the band tied up and gagged while the other members point guns at their heads and, as a forewarning for what’s contained within it’s pretty apt as this album sees Le Reno Amps playing as if their lives depended on it. The banjos and pedal steel guitars that made their last album So For Your Thrills such an alt. country delight have been left at a truck stop somewhere for the most part (only catching up with them around track 10) but that’s proven not to be a bad thing. Tear It Open is leaner than a fillet of Wagu beef, pumped up more than Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando and dripping with more sweat than a couple of teenagers upstairs in a bedroom at a house party. You may have gotten the idea already, but I bloody love this album.


Le Reno Amps have blown me sideways because, even though I liked their last album quite a bit, I didn’t expect them to come up with something this energetic, something this powerful, hell something this damn fucking good in such a short time. Although there’s still a nod and a wink to all things country hidden away, these songs have been designed with only one thing in mind, to make a club full of kids in stripey t-shirts soaked in cider jump up and down and have the night of their lives.


Things kick off in delightful fashion with latest single Outlaws, which brings their alt. country stylings kicking and screaming into their new sound, which is more aggressive, more frenetic and altogether more exciting than anything they’ve done previously. Sitting somewhere between the feistiness of Sons and Daughters and the darkness of the best Johnny Cash this song will kick you in the teeth until you submit and start bouncing up and down, clapping your hands in time with the bass line. It’s an exhausting three minutes and forty two seconds and I love every single second of it. If You Want A Lover is more of the same, if more playful than threatening, but if this doesn’t have you dancing round the kitchen like Morecambe and Wise next time you make your breakfast, then I don’t want anything to do with you. Elsewhere everything’s an absolute blast, apart from You Do Your Thing which does my head only because it reminds me of something and I can’t for the life of me think of what it is. It’s still class though. Send Me On My Way is the one track that links closest with the last album, as it allows the steel guitar back on the bus, but then they lock it in a suitcase again for closer The Guilded Road which owes more to Black Sabbath than Johnny Cash and finishes the album in such an empowering fashion that the only thing left to do is simply click play and listen to the whole thing again.


It’s unbelievable how much of an improvement this album is over the last one. There simply isn’t a bad note on it. Everyone who’s ever pogo’d up and down in a dark room with a sticky floor should have this in their collection, I can’t recommend it enough.


It’s astonishing.


Words: Damian Leslie