YES! YES!! YES!!! - Edison Rocket Train (Steel Cage Records)
Occasional I-94 Bar reviewer Scott "Square Eyes" Ellis chanced upon the Edison Rocket Train on a recent New York trip and rated their show at Otto's Shrunken Head (formerly Barmacy) on 14th Street as one of the best things he'd seen in years. Mainman Mike Edison (ex-Raunch Hands drummer) was a maniac, leaping off and on tables and generally running amok, leading a two-piece combo that was him and percussionist Miss Carry.
Miss Carry is missing from the debut album for Edison and his Rocket Train, but this packs one helluva sucker punch. Stripping it back to the bare roots is the current craze in rock and roll (and in itself is nothing new), but not too many retro rockers many are wearing a leopard skin fez and cape as well as this. The Edison Rocket Train sound is raw and raucous, an amalgam of every garage sound you've heard from the last 30 years, and then some. Sax, blues harp, theremin (courtesy of guest star Jon Spencer), percussion and Edison's own rusty knife edge guitar are brought to bear on a dozen songs (seven originals and five covers).
Hot shot producer Wharton Tiers sympathetically captured the sound of the Rocket Train at his own Fun City studios, except for the Dr John cover "Storm Warning" which was taped at a show at Manitoba's. Edison's colleagues, Peter Linzell (sax and harp), Sweet Joey Valentine (traps) and Omar ("King of the Maracas"), sound like a frat band that can actually play, without over-indulging. Considering Mike Edison's only been playing guitar regularly since 2000, he does an admirable job, running the range from Delta blues to more straight-ahead garage rock.
Granted, you're going to miss the visuals of an energetic Rocket Train live show when you flip the disc into your player, but there's more than enough variety to maintain listener interest levels. Edison's vocals lack broad range but who friggin' cares when he's signing this sort of stuff? Pick of the crop are the title tune, "Freezer Burn", a (traditional) "What's the Matter Now" and "Party Man Special", a runaway train shuffle with a vocal that'd do Lux Interior proud.
If you're looking for an Australian reference point, file next to the Thurston Howlers. A great party starter. - The Barman
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