Sound — 8
Wow, man! You certainly got what you came here for. Wailing guitar, hanging E chords, excessive use of the pentatonic, lyrics about wanting someone so bad you cry, black jeans and long hair. As you can judge from the name, they're a rock 'n' roll band from Auckland, New Zealand that owe their sound to the primal, powerhouse rock of the late '60s/early-'70s and these guys were back doing their noisy business way before the garage rock revival came about. They took audiences by storm supporting The D4 with insane amounts of fuzz and feedback, jumping from the P.A. stack (or if the venue was shit, then the amp stack), continuous wah-wah solos, guitar antics reminiscent of a young, less drugged-up Pete Townshend and with songs played so quickly live you would be forgiven if you blinked and missed half the set. Now, if you've heard of Matt Stroobant (vocals/guitar), Karin Canzek (vocals/bass) and Rich Mixture (drums/vocals) you'll no that with them, good things take time, like debut albums taking seven years to make. This is forgivable though considering their fetish for releasing stellar EPs and having a fantastic live reputation. Recorded in Rich's garage and mastered by Rich and Matt, this isn't a bad effort for a self-released, self-recorded album. In fact, for a self-released, self-recorded albumthis is bloody brilliant.
Lyrics — 9
Opener 'Creature Of The Night' grabs your attention as soon as you've pushed play, knocking you backwards with a crunching, heavily distorted power chord. From the instant it changes into the verse, you can feel something bigger rising up underneath the steady rhythm. The bass lick on the last verse is something to remember and it constantly tells us how talented these people are. It takes you on a twisted rock 'n' roll journey through fantastically cliched lyrics and a psychedelic wah-wah solo that would leave anyone wanting for more. Now, it would be understood if you pushed pause now because of the insane speed but second track 'Want You Bad' strips the sound right back to a one guitar playing a repetitive but catchy riff. This is the first song that details Karin's power as a vocalist, with or without Matt backing her up. The lyric is catchy and meaningful, Karin's voice dripping with heartbroken agony and managing to add a twinge of lust that leaves you gagging (pardon the pun) for more. The gradually declining ending of 'Want You Bad' prepares the listener for the full on blast of 'Ain't No Good' that features a desperate urgency in the lyrics and drums, the ultra-fuzzy bass is something that not many people, or bands, would dare to try but because of their flamboyant style, they pull it off with ease. 'Animal' makes you want to get up and mosh, be it in the privacy of your own home or walking down the street. The middle section features an insane psychedelic-freak-out before kicking back into the chorus' heavily layered guitars that make you wanna mosh harder, regardless of who's home or if you 'stage dive' onto someone on the footpath. Primal, George of the Jungle style drums open 'Wild For You', only continuing the urgent want for someone-regardless of what they may do, portrayed brilliantly in the furious chorus. Karin's voice shines through again, as does the simple but catchy guitar riff. I would be very impressed if any other band around the world could portray the raw simplicity and furiousness that these three people can. Finally, we get break from the insane-jet-rock-and-roll when 'Slave' starts. A groovy drumbeat laid down by Rich allows Matt to build anticipation up to the solo and at this point the anxiousness is so high that the chorus is almost a relief. It then tones right down to a haunting vocal harmony by Karin that imprints the song in your head. This is by far one of the better numbers and not a let down because of it's slower tempo. 'Primitive Man' doesn't get any more clichd, in terms of lyrics and although it starts off quite obtuse, a certain rockin' comes into the song and before you know it, it's over. It seems as though 'Primitive Man' was placed to separate 'Slave' from the next ripper, 'Get This Feelin'. Slower, and channelling the quiet verse/loud chorus format of the Pixies or Nirvana, it changes quickly from a trudging stomp to an intense freak-out storm of churning drums, bass and overdriven guitars. Telling the story of a young rock 'n' roll junky who leaves school at 17, joins a two man band and spends the next five years getting f--ked around is 'Rock 'N' Roll Junky', the longest song on the album (just over four and a half minutes) and it channels the rawk of AC/DC and the energy of The Clash to create a spiralling album closer.
Overall Impression — 8
This is one record not be messed with but I can't help but get the feeling that it could do better as an LP or extended EP. Maybe this was the intention as the tracklisting on the back cover is divided into a Side A and Side B. Nine songs that last only 26.4 minutes put together is not nearly enough. 'Primitive Man' feels like a filler to divide the slow songs from the fast and it lacks the 'oomph' of the first songs on the album. The sound has been recreated on disc faithfully to how a gig would go about, even placing 'Rock 'N' Roll Junky' last, like the live show. It could be longer with a more balanced track structure to spread the slower songs out instead of them weighing down the arse of the album.