BEAT ME - Electric Eel Shock (Spooky Records)
Electric Eel Shock’s adherence to the rigid fundamentals of the big rock sound personified by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple makes Wolfmother seem like a bunch of kids doing karaoke on a Sunday afternoon. This is a group that knows every single power chord played in the Hammersmith Odeon, every grimacing facial expression witnessed on Ritchie Blackmore’s face, every sneering sexist advance mouthed by Ozzy Osborne.
"Beat Me" is the Electric Eel Shock’s first local release. It’s the stuff of guitar based metal heroes – head banging blues rock chords underwritten by the Link Wray Foundation for Heavy Guitar, with guitar solos so white hot you could go blind just thinking about them and lyrics drawn from the classically narrow subject matter of sex ("I Can Hear the Sex Noise"), metaphorical violence ("Killer Killer"), pace ("Slow Down"), heavy metal philosophy ("Rock’n’Roll Kills the Blues") and fishing ("I Love Fish But the Fish Hate Me").
From the moment Gian’s skipping drum beat ushers in the opening track, Scream for Me ("scream for me baby, I have the answer") you know you’re in classic territory. Akihoto Morimoto’s vocals threaten and soothe in concert with the driving metal blues chords thrashed out of his guitar before the shriek of his lead break fills the air like the sound of shattering fine crystal.
Yet for all its manic guitar hero bravado and supra-pronto tempo, one of the things that’s most endearing about Electric Eel Shock is its ability to swing between moments of restraint and metallic explosion. "Slow Down" starts at the frenetic pace you’d expect a song of that title to before easing into a moseying pop rock interlude that seems simultaneously in and out of place, while Lemon Lees threatens to fill assume the role of the quiet album track ballad, until the psyched-in guitar implodes in the face of an attack sponsored equally by Hendrix and Blackmore. And in case you weren’t quite sure who was at the root of Electric Eel Shock’s genealogical tree, the album finishes with a faithful cover of the classic Sabbath bruiser "Iron Man".
The art of good rock’n’roll is to create the maximum artistic statement with the minimum of ingredients. Electric Eel Shock do that and more. This is an album crying out to be thrashed out with the amps on 11. - Patrick Emery
GO USA! - Electric Eel Shock (Gearhead)
GITO GITO GALORE - Gitogito Hustler (Gearhead)
The Japanese made a proper botch of a world war and ever since then they've been making the rest of the world pay for it. Sure, the Yanks dropped The Big One on 'em while British and Australian vets have publicly tarred and feathered them for six decades for all manner of past atrocities, but The Land of the Rising Sun has been quick to counter. For the most part, the weapons have been cultural.
Like those annoying electronic pets on a keyring, whose upkeep extends to cleaning up their virtual turds. What about the Tokyo TV tastemeisters with their overdubbed cooking shows (I mean , who really buys a DVD of "The Iron Chef"?) And then there are the gameshows, where ritual torture of even the most detestable geeks loses its gloss after constant re-runs.Then again, maybe all TV is more cruel than fair.
Of course, the odd rock and roll export from Japan evens out the balance of trade and makes you think that baseball wasn't the only thing the post-war denizens of Nippon absorbed. You only have to appreciate Thee Michelle Gun Elephant in their best moments. Ever heard Teengenerate? Guitar Wolf manages to walk a line between inept and utterly inspired. And then there's the trio of Electric Eel Shock, a regular attraction on the European festival circuit that Gearhead has decided to break in the remaining Rest of the World.
Hence the raison de'etre for this long-player. "Go USA" (aka "Go Europe" over there) which is 14 cuts of metal-punk with tongue lodged firmly in cheek. It takes a little time to get going, but when it does ("Rock and Roll Can Rescue the World"), it packs a stack of deprecating charm into its three chords.
For all their novelty value (EEL alternate between Jinglish and their native tongue), this trio can play. But, if English is your first language (and chances are it is, if you're reading this) then lyrics like "My God is early Black Sabbath/Every day, every night, I like the Ramones" ("Rock n Roll Can Rescue the World") or those in "I'm sorry I can't speak English well/But I wanna sing this song for you guys" ("S.O.S.") are going to grab a fair bit of your attention. They also show where EEL are coming from, as do the dozens of recycled riffs (but, hey, what IS new in rock and roll?) Odds are that you, too, will marvel at the words of "Speedy Joe": "Hi! How are you doing ladies/I am Speedy Joe/I have a big presents for you...Are you ready soon? I'm coming soon/I have no self control".
Even disregarding the puns that could be made from such subject matter, Australia's Hard Ons are an obvious precursor (get it?), marking something of a similar meeting place between Sabb riffs and Ramonesque pop (although to these ears, EEL favour the former more than the latter). There's enough variety however, from funky pop-punk breaking down into silliness ("Speedy Joe") to flat-tilt boogie ("I Wanna Be a Black Sabbath Guy, But I Should Be a Black Bass"), to deflect criticisms of sameness. And I know I keep coming back to it but "Rock 'n' Roll Can Rescue the World" is a great tune. (OK, the sentiment is a bit out-there but we can dream).
For those watching closely, the bonus MPEGs on this disc will invoke a touch of the pre-"Under the Bridge" Moderately Warm Chilli Peppers in the drummer's mode of dress (is that a sock on his cock or - and this will bring tears to the eyes - white gaff tape?) The further you get into this disc, it just gets curiouser and curiouser.
If EEL are Japanese Hard Ons, Gitogito Hustler play the GoGos, springing out of the speakers like a tightly-wound girl group with twin guitars and a collective noseful of amyl nitrate.
It's probably sexist to say that for a quartet of demure-looking girls they make a helluva unexpected racket, so we'll steer clear of such remarks and say that Gitogito Hustler know their way around a fretboard and drumkit (and to pause and ask: Who tightened that snare?).
This is Far East fem-punk with heaps of energy and harmonies. It'd be tempting to sing along if I could understand a word (it's all in japanese) and at times it sounds like a spiky derivation on the Astroboy theme music. (In fact, if you're into three-part harmonies, check "Hyper" for tunefulness bordering on a hypercharged Alvin and the Chipmunks). "Muscle Body Ecstasy" borrows liberally from the Ramones and suffers not a jot for the learning experience.
Equal parts powerpop and punk, the six tunes here do much in their combined 16 minutes to put some fire into rock and roll's old, tired bones. They may not save him from the nursing home, but they'll have a damn good time trying. – The Barman
3/4 - Go USA!
1/2 - Gito Gito Galore
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