Release DetailsLABEL Blind Tiger Records
RELEASED ON 4/20/2005
Velcro Lewis And His 100 Proof Band
posted on 5/2005 By:
While purists may go back and forth about how this has no place on MetalReview.com, I see no reason why it shouldn’t grace the pages of a website that has featured experimental noise, dark ambient, horrifying BTBAM techno side projects and the like. Velcro Lewis and his merry men peddle a raunchy, unpretentious and frightfully honest brand of whiskey-swigging rock n’roll which manages to be raw and starkly powerful yet exceptionally literate, referencing a host of proto-metal forefathers without sounding derivative, revisionist or superficial.
“Cover Lover/Secret Sin” bursts out the gates with a barbarous, debauched Stooges meets New Bomb Turks and Reverend Horton Heat in a seedy back alley approach, absolutely glowing with fist-pumping, greasy white energy and colored with the manic drunken vocal bursts of one Velcro Lewis, a hairy fireball of explosiveness whose voice LEAPS out the mix. “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” opts for a decidedly succinct, feral approach that most closely resembles Wayne Kramer and the MC5, all blistering, larynx-shredding vocals and grotesquely overdriven, bloodstained guitars, while “Rockin’& Drinkin’ (Tonight)” exudes a more soulful feel, like Little Richard after a few shots of bourbon covering the Flamin’ Groovies or something. Meanwhile, “They Call Me The Tracker” opens exquisitely with a sparse slide guitar arrangement, perhaps hinting at something more subdued than the brutal rock n’roll of the first four numbers. Alas, the band shifts into high gear, unleashing a HEADSTOMPING boogie inciting, Southern-fried shuffle that sounds like the Allman Brothers playing through the Sonics’ amp setup.
“Neutral Drop” is a real epic, a 9 minute bonafide celebration of wholesome rock goodness that begins in typical Velcro fashion, a rollicking, rousing, kick out the jams type jambalaya of hip swaying down home guitars, toe-tapping percussion, irresistible Stones-esque sexual come-ons and pelvis-thrusting swagger (“Do you want me? Do you need me? I’m growing white with sin, so baby take my hand…”) . Four minutes into the track, and we shift into a sultry yet psychedelic wah wah’d guitar section, a wailing axe serving as the prelude to a more subtle, laid-back groove that recalls a host of ‘70s power outfits, the exploratory lead guitar most closely resembling Cream and Mountain’s more sedate moments. The bass takes a similar tangential passage, blotting the track with swooning soul. “The Velvet Sauce” sounds like it belongs in some biker bar somewhere, erupting out of an ancient jukebox as the soundtrack to bar fights and mercenary pool games. Some really cool instrumentation here too, the track featuring extensive use of the slide guitar, which takes foremost precedent in the mix and infuses the proceedings with considerable swampy ingénue while Velcro’s incendiary diatribe scorches like a maniacal Jerry Lee Lewis.
Production here is GREAT, very sensitive to the fuzz and rawness of vintage recordings like Fun House and Nantucket Sleighride, exuding a jam-in-the-basement type spontaneous live feel that was so indigenous to a magical period in music. While I honestly could have done with a little more creative percussive work in spots (lets have some Ian Paice drum solos in here or something, guys!), the bass and the guitars each contribute an engaging dimension of their own, taking angular paths instead of sounding formulaic. I would have liked to see more use of the Hammond organ too, because the passages featuring them are GREAT, though the organ does admittedly take a backseat in the mix. Otherwise, there is nary a duff track in sight, each one is a definite keeper!
Now how about that lazy, hazy total Blue Cheer groove, Hammond organ and memorable hook of “Evil Woman”, adorned with searing solo and lengthy jam passages? This is a band unafraid to ROCK, unafraid to challenge modern trends and revisit the very foundations of great, unfashionable, unapologetic rock n’roll, before it was infested with self-important posturing and well-coiffed, stylist-prompted visages. Each and every song wears its influences prominently on its sleeve, the band sifting through a diverse array of seminal records and projecting them through a host of disparate, but astoundingly cohesive ditties. This isn’t "stoner rock", this isn’t "desert rock", this isn’t "proto-metal-doom-stoner-acid-rock", this is ass-kicking rock n’roll that should be enthroned on a pedestal, far away from the image-driven Detroit "garage rock" tripe that is popular with all today’s hipsters. This is several times more honest, several times more musical, and several times more genuine. Along with Pearls & Brass. Black Lamb, The Hellacopters and Fireball Ministry, this band is bringing unabashed groove-propelled ROCK back, and you would do well to pay attention.
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