THE KONKS - The Konks (Bomp/Reverberation)
Sometimes a song or recording is so inextricably intertwined with a personal experience that it remains indelibly imprinted on your mind. I can still remember vividly listening to The Lizard Train's "The Ride" album many years ago in the immediate aftermath of an angst-ridden emotional experience. Listening to the opening tracks of that album –" She Gets Me", "Love at Light Speed" and most importantly "Lifeless" – arrested me from my self-indulgent mental confusion and made me realise that rock'n'roll can conquer just about anything else.
A similar experience happened to me with The Konks' debut album. I'd listened to it a couple of times previously, with very favourable impressions. But it was after a week of annoying and unnecessarily complex work place issues and a prevailing atmosphere of bureaucratic fear and loathing that The Konks reminded me – if I should have needed any reminding – that serious rock'n'roll is the undeniable antidote to all such pestering shite.
This is The Konks' first full length release (a few rare-as-hens'-teeth 7" are allegely available at intelligent record stores and via the band's website). At the heart of this CD is some wicked garage trash that strips music to its bare bones. The Konks have captured that irreverent garage mania that permeated the earliest Mudhoney recordings. It's rough, it's nasty, it's honest and kicks ass from here to Boston and back.
The cry of "We're The Konks and we don't care" in "29 Fingers" – complemented by some growling guitar and jungle cries – is a contemporary incarnation of the Sex Pistol's anarchic call to arms in God Save the Queen and guaranteed to drag legions of motivated trash merchants into battle to save the primitive excitement of garage rock. "Here She Comes" is fuelled by a riff that almost any 3 chord school kid could play (it suggests more than just a little bit of The Victims' "Television Addict") and iced with some growling like a madman taking an unauthorised wander in the local park. But the combination of simplicity and contrived insanity creates something that not even Dr Jekyll could have created.
Following a certain existentialist theme, the CD includes tunes titled "Outta My Mind" and "Outta My Mind" – the sentiment of both is consistent, though the former is more power pop, the latter a captivating collection of skeletal jamming and screeches. "Move and Shake" is less garage and more trash blues (very reminiscent of John Schooley), dotted with screeches and howls that sound like a dog prodding an electric fence. "Can't Get Along With You" adopts a similar flavour, with a guitar riff that chugs like a 19th century steam train and a harmonica that whistles like same. "God Says" is also in the Schooley-trash-blues genre, but whips up a pace that would cause more than a bit of concern in the sleepy margins of the Delta region.
"What I Came Here For" is founded on a riff that seems eerily familiar, but for the life of me I couldn't place – but it sounds like it came out of a Citadel sponsored factory in the mid 1980s playing around with the Kinsmens' outtakes from the mid 1960s. And everytime I almost grasped it the song leapt out and grabbed me round the throat with some Stooges white sludge.
The CD concludes with a cover of Aerosmith's "Let The Music Do the Talking"; while the junkie Joe Perry '70s chunky rock backdrop is never far from the surface, The Konks manipulate the song to make it their own. It's less a case of the music talking than shouting squarely in your face. Confrontation has never been so inviting.
To The Konks I say - Thank you. You've made me realise what's important in life – and you only need a few chords and the ability to shout enthusiastically to do it.- Patrick Emery
TO THE REVIEWS PAGE
BACK TO THE BAR