thelonelydogs loveAnd it’s about rock and roll. Eleven tracks of it from a French four-piece from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in the country’s south-east.

Many people say French garage bands can’t cut it because they weren’t brought up on rock and roll and lack that attack and swing that sorts the great bands out from the pretenders. There’s no rock without roll.

That might be true for many of them but there are exceptions to the rule. As rock and roll is pushed further down the cultural mine-shaft, the really good ones struggle up into the daylight. Which is what The Lonely Dogs have done.

“It’s About…Love” is punkish garage rock in the style of The Boys. It’s meat and potatoes rock and roll without many trimmings but important stuff like the above-mentioned swing and melody are present.

Any record with Johnny Cat’s production credit on it is likely to be worth a listen and “It’s About…Love” lives up to that, Johnny (aka Jean Cataldo) has lent his recording talents to The Boys, Backstreet Girls, Dogs, Backsliders and Sator, among many. He asks for a full, rocking sound and The Lovely Dogs have responded.

There are also a couple of prime covers - “Dead Girls Don’t Talk” by Dogs (one of French rock and roll’s most sainted bands) and an up-tempo “As Tears Go By” - that should give the hesitant something to grasp onto. Fortune favours the brave, however, so be assured that the unfamiliar originals are very much up to scratch.

“Dark Lovers” is the gem here, a song driven by a killer backbeat and a hooky chorus. Simple and effective. “Bad Girl (She’s A)” could have been a Dee Dee song, a poppy Ramonesesque winner that again hangs off a catchy chorus.

“Love Song” isn’t The Damned tune but a nice slice of spiky pop in its own right.

Twin guitars fill out the sound and the workmanlike lead vocals (apparently shared by Olivier and Etienne) do the job. The occasional female backing vocal colours the sound.

This is a well-rounded, rocking album that won’t drag your collection down. The great thing about it being retailed via Bandcamp is that you can hear the samples before plonking down your hard-earned. Which is what you should do right now here.