YOURS UNTIL THE BITTER END - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)
You think you know me? I pick up the CD. Dumb band name. Dumb pun band name. Is there anything worse? God, I hope they are not whacky – or worse; zany. Pun band names often lead to zany. The scourge of Rock and Roll. I could always save the next 40 minutes of my life and just throw the thing away unplayed. The Barman said I could do that. Let me take a closer look.
Four guys on the cover, too lazy to even pose for the camera. They’re sitting on their amps. The drummer has a moustache and crossed legs. I’d cross the street if I saw them; not from fear but from the repulsion at the failure of natural selection. Nah, I should give them their day in court. Fair is fair and I’m really trying hard not to mow down random strangers. A sensitive new age Bob. That’s me.
Laser hits disc. White Stripes like vocals. Chord progressions with all the self important obviousness of Pearl Jam’s “Ten”. There’s a bit of Pistols/Nirvana around the bottom end. Songs pushing the five minute mark from that seven different songs in one school of over-write. Christ. There’s even a guest violinist getting dangerously close to Prog. It’s a bad recipe, right? You can sense me reach for the hemlock, right?
Fuck no. This is great. I don’t know how the sum of such unwieldy and unpromising parts has pulled it off but this shit is gold. Gold I tells you. Detroit style hard rock covering Jack White b-sides. Sounds awful? Yeah, I can’t believe it. The whole surpasses the sum of its parts. Mutated surf riffs pound away. A rolling storm of drums. A splash of MC5 fury. Some Flamin’ Groovies slide. A borrowed outro from Love’s “Seven Plus Seven is”. A riff from here and a riff from there. And it is all thrown into the blender and out of the speakers with total abandon and pedal to the metal histrionics. It’s unrelenting. It refuses to pause for breath. A great glorious noise that pins you up against the wall and tells you how much it loves rock and roll. You could slam this fucker in your car stereo and go cruising down Satan’s highway. It makes you want to swig from a bottle of Wild Turkey, pull out a baseball bat and decapitate a few mail boxes. It makes you want to do dumb things. Fun things. And forget about the coming hangover. This is music that’ll have you spending the night in jail.
Honestly. The assembly of what is ultimately fifty years of rock and roll clichés is redeemed by balls to the wall, no compromise, kick out the fucking jams self belief. The lyrics aren’t worth quoting. The songs aren’t worth naming. The performance is the thing and there is no rest for the wicked here. It is well worth adding to your current playlist. Download it. Steal it or buy it. Just get the thing. Take off your stupid headphones and play this loud enough to annoy the neighbours. The first nine songs are excellent and they should have ended the album there. Track Ten “John Wayne Brown”, is a change of pace country rock ballad that people used to throw away on b-sides. But, hell. That’s what the off button is for. Still worth a five bottle review. - Bob Short
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WHO TO TRUST WHO TO KILL WHO TO LOVE - The Bloody Hollies (Alive)
Singers who even vaguely sound like Robert Plant shit me to tears but a large length of slack can be cut for The Bloody Hollies. A swag of catchy, brittle-edged songs, aggressive, the-blues-do-the-pogo playing and a large serving of irreverence get these Greater New Yorkers (now San Diegans) over the line.
The bass-less Bloody Hollies build their case on a bed of distorted guitar and frenetic drumming, with lead guitarist-vocalist/lead counsel Wesley Doyle prosecuting convincingly for a guilty verdict at the microphone. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, can I submit that it's overly lazy to label him as Plant-influenced - there's a bit of Mark Mothersburgh and god knows who else leaking through his singing. The attitude's the important thing and it's here in shovel-loads. You'd hate to be Wesley's vocal chords the mornign after.
Second guitarist Joey Horgen is adept at the fuzz foundaiton-laying but can play the blues foil too (swapping slide with Doyle's harp on "Sad and Lonely") but if you're expecting Robert Cray, look elsewhere. When these blues have a baby, it's swarthy, drooling, fully-formed and dragging its knuckles. Is that a baseball bat in your hands, baby, or are you just pleased to see me? That's why a song like "Let's Do It" wails, swings its hips - and then smacks you in the chops.
Pssst. Wanna hear a secret? Drummer Mathew Bennett is a secret weapon on that one and almost everything else, beating out relentless patterns and directing the dynamic rises and falls like the commander of an artillety unit. He throws caution to the wind and leads a charge on "Black Box Blues" that ends up in a blur of skins and riffs so blunt you could dig a fence post hole with it.
But nowhere does the strident attack of The Bloody Hollies work better than on "Satanic Satellite" (yes, bands do use titles like that - and long may they run) which sounds like a radio hit in a more enlightened universe. If you find that universe, well, you know the email address.
If there are certain rules to playing "da blues" (and the purists will tell you it's so) then The Bloody Hollies avoided class that day. We, the listening public, are reaping the rewards.- The Barman
IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU - Bloody Hollies (Alive/Total Energy)
If one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.
The band originally hailed from Buffalo and they relocated to San Diego a couple of years ago. They were a trio at the time of this recording though the press photo on their website suggests they are now a four-piece ( I could find nothing on the site to confirm that ) . The rhythm section of Philip Freedenberg ( bass ) and Michael Argento ( drums, 'natch ) are ultra-tight and swinging and frontman/ guitar hero Wesley Doyle is an axe monster . Production is by ex-Dirtbomb Jim Diamond and it's great, too-punchy and vital, not too slick but not too sludge-y either.
So what about the tunes ? Well, they're quite fine actually. Opener "Watch Your Head" reminds me of early Angry Samoans (loud 'n' fast as oppsed to the later psych-type stuff) , particularly the vocals. I'm hearing a bit of the New Bomb Turks' Eric Davidson as well. In any case, it's a fine opener and it sets the tone for the rest of the set ie. fast and manic.
"Burning Heart" follows and it's another fine blast with some really good slide work by Doyle. "Gasoline" is next and is the catchiest number yet-this one may be the pick to click for your podcast or whatnot. "Infatuation of the Girl" represents a bit of a departure in that it's a little more restrained, a little more twangy- I guess it's the bands' love song. It's back to the fuzz, though, with "Dirty Water" (not the old garage standard ) and a wicked wah solo. The album closes out with "Raised by Wolves " and, at this point, I'm totally bowing to Doyle and his slide prowess - IT sounds like a superior White Stripes song if they had a real rhythm section (no disrespect to Meg White intended ) and took some speed.
"If Footmen Tire You" was recorded over two years ago and the band are poised to release a new album and tour it this coming Spring. I'm guessing the touring will only encompass the U.S., perhaps Europe too, but if they make it anywhere near you check them out because, as good as they are in the studio, I'm betting they take it to another level altogether on the stage - Andrew Molloy
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