It was never meant to be like this. All We Are Harlot was conceived to be was a vehicle for Danny Worsnop to flex his classic rock muscle alongside his dayjob fronting Asking Alexandria. But on the 22nd January that all changed when it was announced that Worsnop was focusing on We Are Harlot by quitting his position as figurehead of one of British metalcore’s best-loved and most successful bands. It was certainly a bold move, leaving a well-established, fairly prosperous band to essentially start again, but it’s definitely paid off, as We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut is the riotous rock ‘n’ roll bomb that’s been threatened to drop for a while.
This becomes the case as soon as opener Dancing On Nails gets into full flow, a rollicking, hip-shaking beast of a tune. These are the wares that Worsnop peddles now – hedonistic, whisky ‘n’ women rock ‘n’ roll turned up to almost unsociable levels. Dirty Little Thing and One More Night are the kind of tunes Mötley Crüe would’ve come out with in their heyday, while the likes of Never Turn Back and the mid-tempo ballad Someday would be guarenteed rock radio smashes if they were made singles. Worsnop seems in his element throughout as well – apart from a few brief screams in the raging Denial, it’s a largely clean affair, with little evidence of his former life as a metalcore icon. His metamorphosis into a full-blown rockstar is entirely believable, his coarse, leathery singing the perfect fit for the likes of the Foos-ish Easier To Leave.
Of course, We Are Harlot is more than just the frontman, and it’s worth acknowledging the rest of the band, especially Sebastian Bach guitarist Jeff George. He’s a bona fide guitar hero in the making, dishing out the best solos that Eddie Van Halen never wrote particularly on the noticeably funky The One. It’s the sum of each member’s part that makes We Are Harlot so great, and even though it’s a genre that’s slightly out of fashion these days, you can bet your bottom dollar that Kiss or Aerosmith won’t be writing songs this good any time soon.
Where We Are Harlot lets itself down is in its final two tracks. Flying Too Close To The Sun just doesn’t have the same likeability as the tracks before it, while closer I Tried was probably conceived as a lighters-in-the-air, Bon Jovi-style power ballad, but doesn’t soar as high as it ought to. Those are really the album’s only weak points – apart from these it’s a consistently strong rock album. Sure, cynics may say that the famous face at the helm is the main reason this band are getting the coverage they are, but at the minute that doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, what We Are Harlot will ultimately be judged on is the quality of their songs, but right now, going by the evidence on show here, that won’t be a problem for them at all.
For fans of: Skid Row, Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe
Words by Luke Nuttall