If I’m honest I was at their gig mainly to catch support act The Greasy Slicks, a band that seemed to channel that same retro-rock/blues collision that Burning Tree did so well. But even on a cold, Monday night in the parochial backwaters of a West Country railway town, Swindon to be exact, music can still remind you it pays to keep delving into dark corners in search of your next favourite band. The fact that even in my impoverished state I came away clutching a handful of merchandise, including a vinyl album not even by them, says something about how much of a musical high I was on.
Recently I have been trying to write one line reviews in my head whilst watching live bands, theirs went something along the lines of “Paul Westerberg being clubbed to death in a back alley by The MC5,” and I think as a soundbite that tells you all you need to know. But let me expand.
This is blues ramped up and rocked out and put through the blender. It’s garage rock that tips its hat more to The Sonics than Sonic Youth. It’s punk by people who actually bothered to learn their craft. And they learnt it well. As a live outfit they look the part. To us Brits, this is what a band from the American underground should look like. Part truck stop grime, part bohemian mystique, part struggling muso, part street corner hustler. And not only do they look the part, they sound it too and thankfully the raw fury of their live show is captured on this album.
Okay, they aren’t reinventing the wheel and you may say that you have heard this all done before. Maybe, but I would argue that you haven’t heard it done as well as this before. One of my yardsticks for judging music from this noisy end of the spectrum is to ask myself “ What would Lester Bangs think?” I reckon he would love it…or not, you could never tell with that fickle old bastard.