MR WHISP - ShrewmS (self released)
Dirty and desperate sounding rock and roll from a Brisbane quartet I'd never heard of. Anyone with half an ear for the stuff churned out by the likes of the Powder Monkeys et al will need this six-track EP. Little wonder it carries an endorsement from Evil Dick of Strutter in the media release.

It's not rocket science, what these boys do. It's the time-honoured formula of an insistent beat overlaid by well-played, metallic lead guitar and balls-out vocals. The key differentiator is that ShrewmS do it damned well. Apparently they used to toss the odd ska song into their sets. If this EP is representative, they must have grown out of that. Nothing but straight-up, twin-guitar rawk here.

At a guess ('cos I lost the one-sheet) drummer Gregor Mulvey handles most of the vocals with Russ Henry and Scott The General dividing up guitar duties.

"Bangkok Lady" is the singalong pick (and there are no prizes for figuring out the flavour of a lyric like: "Once you got it/You can chop it off"). The choice of a Texas Terri cover in "Dirty Action" is inspired as it doesn't get much more inked and confrontational than the aforementioned lady.

"Let It Ride" rips into an intro copped from "Electrophonic Tonic" before riding a wave of chorus-and-response. Accident or design? You decide. If you're going to pinch something, steal it from the best.Sounds good regardless.

I'd like to hear some more tonal variation in the lead guitarist's playing but don't let that put you off. This is a more than respectable first-up effort that should prick up some ears. I'd love to see them slug it out on a bill with Adelaide's Meat Beaters and Sydney's Hell Crab City. The results would be deafening carnage but well worth the earbleed.
– The Barman