SUPERCHARGED - Lothar (Lorna Records)
Finnish band Lothar mix all the elements of what might be termed Eurotrash Rock - swarming guitars, vocal carnage and tumbling drums - with equal parts punk attitood and ribald humour. In Australia, we'd tag them Cosmic Psychos-inspired yobs, crank up the barbie and roll out the Carlton Draught welcome (beer) mat. Or we should.

Opener "Eat My Weiner" is an Arctic version of the The Radiators' "Gimme Head", that shop-soiled Oz rock suburban beer barn standard that became an '80s bogan anthem. Only this version has wit to the power of 10. Careful you don't load it onto your iPod and get slapped by some glammed-up commuter personal assistant for unwittingly singing the chorus out loud on the 7.22 to work. Surely this is the epitome of Cock Rock? Great crunching guitar sound too.

"Call Me Leonard Nimoy" is part proto-metal stomp and part theremin-tinged psych flip-out. Subtlety never rises to the top. Likewise, "Road To Ruin" where a walking bassline yields to fuzz and a sterling guitar lead, presumably courtesy of main six-stringer Nieminen. He and singer-guitarist Saxfund slug it out in right royal style at the denouement.

"Kowalski Stomp!" is a metallic garage punk cruncher, a three-minute hayride to Hell in a twin-guitar farm truck on a pot-holed Finnish goat track. I'm betting the guy who looks like Uncle Fester wrote it but that's just a stab in the dark with no basis in reality. A fantasy actually, so just ignore it.

And "She-Wolf"? Finland didn't have Vikings, I know, but if they did, this would have been the song they would have sung (dig those mountain tribe backing vox) as they rode their Harley-Davidsons into the village to plunder and pillage. At least the victims would have died with that great tremolo guitar ringing in their ears.

Closing tune "I'm So Godamn Loaded (I Don't Mind)" is one of those resigned regrets most bands would place three-quarters of the way through the live set with an eye to the final flurry and the encore. Low-key but lifted by the fine guitarwork.

This is EP number-three and there's been a track on Dull City's Cosmic Psychos tribute series. So where's the album? - The Barman




QUALITY TIME - Lothar (Lorna Records)
I'm not too good on my Finnish punk geneaology (though after listening to this EP I'm going to dig around a bit), but apparently these guys have played around a bit in Europe. "Quality Time" is music to skol beers to, and a mighty fine beer drinking soundtrack it is.

The opening track, Karzan – the Real King of the Jungle, has a psychedelic garage feel that puts it firmly in the tradition of the Standells, Seeds et cetera, with a Ray Manzarek-esque organ riffs that runs manicly over a dirty, fuzzy lead, augmented by vocals that sound like Kim Salmon in his most chaotic punk moments.

"The Deal" opens with a riff that invoked an image of George Thorogood teleported back to 1969 to lead the house band in a Russ Meyer film. The drumming is frenetic, and you can just the hippie chicks go-go dancing to their hearts' content. Boulevard of Broken Heart 'n' Vinyl, eases right off, its methodical pace balanced by a more country feel, with the dominant warbling organ backdrop morphing into a Manazarek solo in the realm of "Riders on the Storm".

"Plane Crash" picks the pace back up, bolted to the floor by some pub rock power chords, decorated with more keyboard theatrics before the guitar spirals of into the garage ether in search of more excitement. The final track, "My Kind of Girl (Smells Like Gasoline)", has an organ riff that sounds strangely like someone has sampled a doorbell and punched it through a psychedelic funnel, and more pummelling (if a bit erratic) riffs – and the lyrics are nothing more than an ode to the hidden beauty of female mechanics (and if you're on the right plane, that can mean a lot of things).

Listening to this CD was indeed quality time. I'll be looking out for more such experiences in the future.- Patrick Emery

(and being a Finnish band, that should be 4 Lappin Kultas)