Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 10/18/2013
"Last Patrol" is a great zooming KABLOOIE of an album...
To get the uninitiated up to speed: New Jersey’s favorite drug-riddled space-cavemen Monster Magnet released two jaw-dropping, ear-exploding, mind-expanding, cosmos-rending classics in 1992’s Spine of God and 1993’s Superjudge. Main magnet Dave Wyndorf and crew then trimmed their jams a bit and piloted their craft for the heart of sleazy rock-starved radio listeners with two more classics: 1995’s Dopes to Infinity and 1998’s Powertrip, the latter of which ideally would have sent legions of Ozzfest kids to dig into a rich history of mescaline-fueled Motor City r.o.c.k., but likely just perplexed them with its unwillingness to Jnco.
After that? Well, one’s mileage with Monster Magnet’s “wilderness years” is likely to have varied. The ficklest of fans mostly wrote off the band as re-peddlers of their own diminishingly relevant legacy over the course of God Says No!, Monolithic Baby, and 4-Way Diablo. Now, this particular scribbler’s fondness for the band was never extinguished, and even the grouchiest of detractors should at least admit that the Magnet has kept the good fight for rock and roll alive. 2010’s Mastermind saw a welcome (re)injection of some of the ghoulish, lecherous energy of Dopes and Powertrip, and now, with new album Last Patrol, one shouldn’t be surprised if plenty of long-time haters come crying back to Daddy, all snotty-nose-whimpering-in-a-rumpled-lapel, “*Snrrrrkk* I-I-I always loved yoooooooooooou.”
Well, to heck in a handkerchief with that mercurial lot, but Last Patrol is a great zooming KABLOOIE of an album that marries the streamlined songwriting of every post-Powertrip album to a crackling garage rock fervor and, in what ought to be heralded as a Godsend by even the ever-devoted among us, a return of some of the expansive, Hawkwind-repping psychedelic freakouts that dominated Monster Magnet’s earliest successes.
Far from being a wall-to-wall licentious explosion, however, Last Patrol impresses first and foremost by how cunningly and symmetrically it’s structured. The album opens and closes with songs of hazy, slow-burning melodicism, and then tracks two and eight (“Last Patrol” and “End of Time,” respectively) string the third-eye-prying space rock thunder into elongated jams of serious weight. Wyndorf, as always, is a master lyricist, striking just the right balance of crude and clever, direct and obtuse. In fact, the penultimate tune “End of Time” features such a stupendously satisfying rock and roll kiss-/fuck-off that it demands to be quoted in full:
“Throw my burned-out head in a lake of fire,
I’ll satisfy my soul on the other side;
Pump me till I’m gone and I can’t get back.
I’ll smoke you fuckers out at the end of time.
Wash my tired brain in an acid bath;
Fuck me till I’m dead and I can’t get back.
I’ll satisfy my soul on the other side
and smoke my baby out at the end of time.”
If scuzzball poetry like that doesn’t warm your heart and turn your lizard brain on full-force, then your world is a barren plain of lost hope and squandered wonder.
Still, despite these (welcome) psych jams, Last Patrol is an album of great textural contrasts. Lead single “The Duke of Supernature” teases at a big crunch that never quite comes, but instead blossoms into a desert-wandering jangle jam, while the cover of folk troubadour Donovan’s “Three Kingfishers” pulls the opposite trick, turning a gentle, deliberate melody on its head and amping the band into its biggest, fattest, most metal riffingest form in, well, maybe forever? “Hallelujah” is another peculiarity, inasmuch as it sounds like the main lick from Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” wandered into the middle of Nick Cave’s Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus.
Album closer “Stay Tuned” toys with the long-suffering Magnetites out there with some wink-wink nudge-nudge lyrics that hint at both outright weariness (“What’s gonna happen now? Will the good guys pull through somehow? Stay tuned till next time, and we’ll see what’s what.”) and potential beef with former labels or business associates (“Why even keep it hard in a flat-lined world where every piece of dung is the next big thing?” and “They don’t got your back, so use your imagination, and be pretty goddamned careful how you choose your friends.”) Musically, though, it’s another soft-pedal wonder; a stretched-out slow jam of suggestive noodling and patient sound effects that eventually comes together and fades out like so many motes of astral dust blowing serenely through an impossible vacant firmament.
Monster Magnet remains a vital musical force because they make big, dumb rock music that provokes thoughtful contemplation. Doubtful as it is, if they’re going out with this, make sure to mount your missile silo and blast your goddamn head right along with them; this album plots an able course for the next unspoken possibility.
11/6/2007 Monster Magnet
4/4/2006 Monster Magnet
Spine of God (Re-Issue)