Written By: Darwin Green
Label: Vagrant – Rating:
This album rocks.
The opening track, “Prizefighter,” sets the energy up so beautifully for the rest of the album. It’s a rocking jaunt into Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion territory, or for the more commercially inclined, the harder, bluesier songs of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The riffs and the gritty, down-home vocals and screeches reach to the core of all that used to be great about pure rock and roll, wherever it may be anymore. It’s a song to roll down the windows in your car to. Phrases such as “I’m a go all-nighter” and “I’m a don’t do it wrong do it righter,” punch the listener awake with a smile, like a…well… This is music that doesn’t take itself seriously, and pays off for it.
The album carries over into Velvet Underground territory, with moments coming back to pure rock, and carries the listener through a reflective journey into heartache, regret, and all the painful emotions that, somewhere within them, contain all the increasing desire and loneliness of a love unrequited. It still has that playful feel throughout, though softened and distilled through a surface tension of lost promises and a list of lost events in the space between two people with differing goals and desires.
The music never loses its perspective of hope and fun. It’s a lot like if someone took a deck of cards of Beck’s Mutations and another of the works of James Brown and shuffled the two, under the banner of blues-rock. “Tremendous Dynamite” revisits the hard-hitting blues that the opening track introduced the listener with. Thus the album progresses: crazy wildness interspersed with songs of longing, loneliness, and desire. It’s a great combo.