ONE IN A ZOO – Cellophane Suckers (Dead Beat Records)
Think of the Cellophane Suckers as soul-mates to the New Bomb Turks, Sonny Vincent, Turnbonegro. Murder City Devils and Dumbell and you might come close. In a 20-plus career spanning half-a-dozen albums, these crank-it-to-11 Germans have done as much Euro-touring as any high-energy guitar army from that neck of the global woods.  And so the sound of the (oddly-named) long-player "One In a Zoo" attests. This is road-tested, cranking punk rawk.

There's a Lucky 13 songs on this disc and "LIfe Ain't Easy" is the pick of this bunch. Here's how it goes: Ominous bass-line cedes ground to guitars, squeezed through delay and distortion, and a keyboard wash. Sven Wixner intones doom-laden lyrics over an irresistible feel. Sound familiar?

These Suckers have had Radio Birdman on high rotation, at length. No doubt about that. At times, they sound more like Radio Birdman (circa 1977) than Radio Birdman. Which isn't to put them down or dump them in the copyist category: they're joust using the same elements (searing guitar, guttural/disembodied vocals, keyboard washes) to play in the same space. "4 Letter Love" comes across all "Murder City Nights" in the guitar department while "Ragdoll Parade" taps into "Non-Stop Girls" for its electricity.

Like Birdman, Cellophane Suckers know where their rock came from. Their take on the Stones' "Jivin' Sister Fanny" is a full-throttle homage that doesn't stay too true to the original. The exchange of lead breaks between Mattes and Hauke Sucker (right and left speaker respectively) fills this out nicely.

The Birdman comparison isn't made often here and certainly never lightly. Neither guitarist has it over Tek or Masuak, but then you knew that. They're highly adequate, nonetheless.

The storming cover of The Onyas' "Hit You Up The Guts" puts things in broader perspective. The original crew never gave a fuck about subtlety and neither do the Suckers, most of the time. This is primo stuff. Musically, on the other hand, "Moon" gives it up for "Agents of Fortune" era Blue Oyster Cult.

It's not all about the covers and the 11 originals range from outright rockers to pensive hard psych. Am I going to bag "One In a Zoo"? No way. It's a little predictable in parts but thoroughly enjoyable. Cellophane Suckers do this shit well.

The album's a couple of years old but if you want a taste, there's a recent single for downloading, the B side of which is a tasty cover of GOD's classic "My Pal".- The Barman 



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