Self Titled EP
posted on 1/2006 By:
It took a few years, but The Illuminati’s self titled debut EP has finally been released in the US, thanks to a deal with Liquor and Poker Music. In the meantime the trio has gone on to release their first full length effort, On Borrowed Time, which I’m hoping will also be submitted for review (apparently it’s not a part of the Liquor and Poker deal), because this band is clearly one to watch. On this first effort The Illuminati lays down a sixteen minute session of ass shakin’ rock that’s as impressive as it is abbreviated. The Illuminati’s sound culls influence from a laundry list of 70’s rock and southern rock icons, and ends up sounding like the intersection of where the mean streets of Thin Lizzy intersect with the back roads of Molly Hatchet. The idea of Canadians playing southern rock seems about as natural as Geddy Lee in corpse paint, but these boys know the style and play it well, delivering up smart compositions that are equally reverential and celebratory. They’re not exactly new kids, either--before forming the band the members spent a decade in the stoner rock act Tchort. Although I only have a passing familiarity with that decent band, this new start seems to be a definite improvement.
Opener “Lemmy Know” is an uptempo beer and sweat soaked barroom anthem that’s chocked full of vintage boogie, recalling Thin Lizzy at times and Black Sabbath at others. It slides directly into the freewheeling solo intro “Salon Kitty”, but as the verse kicks in the band settles into a Molly Hatchet-like swagger. Still, the band straddles the line between back road soulfulness and balls out rock and roll. They fall off that fence and land squarely on the southern side with the Skynyrd-spirited hoedown “On My Way Back Home…Again”. Throughout, the influences are varied. Hell, during a section of “Absinthe Makes the Heart” the band even flirts with snatches of Van Halen (huhhuh, huh, I said flirts with snatches). The band does well to craft balanced songs that are painfully infectious but are much better developed than one might recognize at first blush. The trio works together well, and the well harmonized vocals and melodies, as well as ample fills and leads, give the impression this is a band that is hungry and in fighting shape. Good stuff here. Too short, but you can’t argue much with a three dollar price tag. Like Drunk Horse, The Illuminati do the retro boogie thing in a way that keeps them relevant. Definitely a band worth checking out.
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