Share DODGE THIS! - Loose (self released)
In an ideal world, I-94 Bar Records would have released this, it would be selling by the truckload and Loose would be Italy's richest rock stars. They'd be living on champagne, pizza, pasta and caviar and touring the world in their own Alitalia jet. Of course the world's far from ideal but "Dodge This!" is as close as could be for fans of rock and roll with Detroit stamped all over it.

Like a re-birthed stolen Fiat, Loose has been reconfigured since their last release. Massimo ("Max") Contigiani is the only survivor and now handles all the singing (except for a cover of "What Gives?", with former co-vocalist Paolo Petrini behind the mic.) What's unchanged is their uncompromising attack. Loose sound like the denizens of the Grande Ballroom took a leaf out of the British Invasion bands and took over Europe.

If the credible cover of "City Slang" wasn't a giveaway then songs like "Death Won't Kill Me" and "Mad Brains" show where Loose is coming from. The band's garage origins are solid enough but have been subsumed by mid-80's Australian underground rock and the obvious Detroit reference points. The hi-energy attack is occasionally coloured by piano (the vamping "Cool As Fuck '09" is a stand-out) but the twin guitars are right up front. Contigiani does a great job on the vocals, sounding like a cross between Sonic Smith and Mark Sisto.

It's stating the obvious to say Loose sounds a lot like the "Lower Yourself" New Christs on "Jerktown Blues" - and "No Next Time" is of course is a cover of a song penned by by Rob Younger and Charlie Georgees in The Other Side and recorded after that band was no more. You could also think that band leader Max has every Citadel single pressed with lots of Asteroid B612 records thrown in for good measure (although his abiding interest is blues) but that wouldn't be a bad thing.

In "On The Loose", Max and his mates sound like "High Time" MC5 with horns wrestling with the guitars. "No Next Time" is faithful to the original but Loose otherwise don't come across as copyists. They're soaking up influences, putting them on display but playing the music their own way. And that's characterised by Max's probing guitar (that's him in the left channel) and equally frenetic contributions from six-string partner Luca Zenobi. The rhythm section is as tight as needs be to provide the drive necessary to keep things kicking forward.

The songs on "Dodge This!" fall into two categories. There are the bluesy. hard rockers and there are the foot-to-the-floor, blasts of punk energy. Opening song "Not Yet" is in the latter camp: Stinging sustained feedback runs into a barked order before an explosion of guitars. "Mad Brains" is the sort of runaway ride you get when you hail a Rome taxi. Your own personal favourites will vary but you'd be more out of control than Silvio Berlasconi on a hooker binge if you passed this one up.
- The Barman



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ROCK THE FUCK OUT - Loose (Punch Records)
Loose are an Italian five-piece (twin guitars with keyboards) who hit the mark in all senses of the phrase. A going concern for more than a decade, they pull their influences from obvious places but make something of them, all on their own terms.

The band logo and name speak "Stooges", big-time, and there are Detroit references (a song called "Son of Dirt" and a and a credible cover of "TV Eye") that give the game away, as does the closing take on "Kick Out the Jams". Guest saxophonist Giorgio Organtini even provides some Steve Mackay moments on "Underground Pride". This is the second long-player I've heard from Loose, on top of a recent vinyl EP and a track on Rob Darroch's Italian Birdman tribute "Where the Action Is", and they just keep getting better. This sounds more together in the arrangements than their first album and is more advanced, sonically speaking, too, having been self-produced in a week at Red House Studio in Italy.

"Something Good" builds on a swirling and recurrent organ line before launching into an all-cylinders-open trip down the "Haunted Road" that features screaming Tek-like guitar and recalls the Visitors in their best moments. Ditto the bar room piano on the curiously titled "Emotional Farts"(which also provides the disc's best guitar moment).

When you get down to it, Visitors comparisons are probably more accurate than the more obvious Stooges/New Christs/Birdman overtones, thanks to Gianvincenzo Lombi's prominent keys and Massimo Contigiani's nicely sustained guitar, although it has to be said that "Somewhere" and "Here Comes My Fire" would have fitted perfectly on the Christs' "We Got this" disc.

Lead guitarist Massimo Contigiani also does a nice line in Kent Steedman pyrotechnics (is that a Tube Screamer pedal or are you just pleased to see me?). Paolo Petrini (vox/guitar) is obviously at the heart of the Lose sound, writing six of the 11 originals and handling the lead vocals. Props to the engine room of Luca Giustolisi (bass) and Andrea Taddei whose work is fundamental in maintaining energy levels.

Lose could have been one of the better bands on the Birdman-inspired Detroit tack that made Sydney such a vibrant place for live music in the 1980s. They're the best Italian band I've heard (although I'm yet to wrap my ears around much music by the A-10, whose reputation is formidable). The Loose could also be trans-national partners of France's Holy Curse, which is a big wrap in itself.

Nothing wrong with being derivative when you do it well and make a style your own. Make a similar effort and track this down via the band. This is one of the best things I've heard in 2003. - The Barman

Available from here.



2/3

KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE - Loose (Sham Foundation)
Kiss your preconceptions of Italian rock and roll goodbye too. These guys are no lame copyists - they wear their hearts (and red and black armbands, too, I suspect) on their sleeves but do their own thing as well. And that "thing" is a blend of, most prominently to these ears, the New Christs and the Visitors, along with smatterings of garage-surf guitar and meandering feedback sounds, aggro vocals and attitude to burn.

The Loose came to the I-94 Bar's notice via our the sharp ears of our Italian correpsondent, Roberto Calabro, a divining rod for all things Rock Action in southern Europe (and champion of real Oz rock via the pages of various Italian magazines like the excellent Rockerilla.) He put guitarist-vocalist Paulo Petrini in touch and a copy of this 1999 disc was on the turntable, where it has spent a good time since.

The Loose have been listening to all the right discs. A quick glance at the cover art gives them away - the band's logo is a direct cop of the one the Stooges used on Funhouse and an MC5 t-shirt is prominent - but that's no crime; every second Sydney band in the early '80s was sporting the same paraphenalia.

Musically, there's echoes of the same period cutting through, too. Deniz Tek-esque guitar is all over a track like "When the Time Has Come" and "Circle of Love" echoes an up-tempo "Man With Golden Helmet". "Wind of Lust" barely survives a "Funhouse" styled intro before expending the remains of its 5min28sec on a swirling Gian Vincenzo keyboard line and barely controlled guitar rave. "Sea of Trash" is a straight-forward guitar-and-keys stomp that would sit well in a current New Christs set.

Paulo Petrini and Massimo Contigiani share guitar and vocal duties and evenly and do a pretty fair job. Cristiano Gradozzi is a monster drummer and bassist (and presumably brother) Giacomo lays down a thick line that struggles for postion in the mix. In fact, the limitations of the home studio they recorded this in is one of the few rankles. Love to hear them with a big budget. |

You don't want another cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog"? That's the closer - and you do want to hear it when the band re-builds it from the ground up with a different guitar figure and overlays textures rather than taking the easy easy way out and smothering it in fuzz-grind, rising to a cacophony of holwing and feedback. It smokes. - The Barman



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