MOTOR CITY RESURRECTION - The 69 Eyes (1 + 2 Records)
Like most folks, I know diddly about Finland beyond the generally accepted facts: it's very cold, everybody's named Jukka or Pekka, and they're drunk most of the time. Why this hardly-noticed nation keeps turning out so many bands obsessed with loud, crass, blue-collar, Detroit-centric sludge is one
of the great imponderables.
Based on the raging front wrapper (bloody lip print, shirtless, stringy-haired singer) and title alone, you'd be forgiven for believing that The 69 Eyes are the second coming of The Stooges or The New York Dolls, but a quick shuffle through "Motor City Resurrection" exposes these Finns as scrappy, roughed-up purveyors of supercharged, 70's booger biker rock ala The Godz, Black Oak Arkansas, early Kiss filtered through Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction or, to put a Euro spin on things, their countrymen Smack.
"Motor City Resurrection" remorselessly steamrolls and power chords its merry way through a sonic landscape fraught with (and here's where the Motor City part of the equation comes in) the ghosts of mottled rust-belt casualties like Brownsville Station, pre-"American Band" Grand Funk Railroad, and suburban dive bar heroes from my high school and early college years like Zooster, Teezer, Salem Witchcraft, and Sirius Trixon & The Motor City Bad Boys, all bands with decent chops but lacking points for originality or subtlety, each and every performance resplendent with the echoes of crashing empty beer bottles.
This album is a 10-year-old compilation of rarities which has just been given new life with the re-issue/bonus track treatment. Unfortunately, the dusty copy I uncovered at my local used record emporium and examined here is the original release out of Japan, minus the bonus tracks, so we may never know what we missed.
One thing you don't have to worry about being shortchanged about with this trash-talkin' slab o' granite, though, is restraint. Perennial Kiss set opener "Deuce" is unceremoniously taken a couple of miles out of town and shot in the back of the head, singer Jyrkie coughing up lung cookies and screaming like his hair's on fire, guitarists Timo-Timo (presumably so good his parents named him twice) and Bazie screeching and defiant, wiping their feet on the corpse of "Space" Ace Frehley who, sad to say, never quite became acclimated to the gravity on our planet.
"Juicy Lucy" is clad in denim with a wallet-shaped wear mark on the back pocket, a dirty little letter that's only slightly less scuzzy than the rest of the album, adorned with barrelhouse, boogie woogie piano, but still leering and thumping its chest. "Mrs. Sleazy," "Discipline," and "Too Itching For Action" are all spontaneous, rough-hewn, non-nonsense Bon-era AC/DC knock-offs laid bare and oozing with their own peculiar brand of shaggy charm.
There are a few minor shifts in pace on display here, no small feat considering sources ranging from 7-inch singles to album tracks to compilation fodder. "Hot Butterfly" ("her cookies make the cruel world disappear") swerves perilously close to vacuous, smoky arena rock while the chorus of "The Hills Have Eyes" offers some ghoulish, neo-psychedelic, old-style Damned howling from Jyrkie.
The 69 Eyes seem content to bludgeon you, lift your wallet, and go drinking. Accomplished blooze rock by any measure, "Motor City Resurrection" chugs along energetically and doesn't make you wince too often.- Clark Paull
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