69BC - 69BC (I-94 Bar Records)
Raw garage rock ’n’ roll in the Australian pub rock tradition, with an obvious nod to ‘70s hard rock and the “Pebbles” collection. A record made distinctive by the classic Aussie twin-guitar attack. Those were my first thoughts on this CD from a band made up of members of Psychotic Turnbuckles, Sheik the Shayk and Buffalo Revisited.
It was recorded in Zen Studios, the capital city of Sydney’s inner-western Garageland region, by Geoffrey Lee over seven years, and what hit me straight away is that none of the live intensity has been lost. It captures a raw and live garage/pub band warts, belching and all…I can see a bloke over there who once drunkenly spilt beer on me and that other idiot that pushed me over in the mosh pit. And then I’m lifted up by another and patted on the back…
“Bedside Manner” is a straight-out Motorhead blitz. It’s pumping with guitar action and a solid, straight edged rhythm section (4/4 beat and meat and potatoes drums by Nix Nox and bass by Adam Silverwright.) It's heavily laced with wild, metal-tinged guitar solos.
The songwriting of “Later Than We Know” is reminiscent of the early Celibate Rifles. I’m suggesting a direct influence in so much as they’ve listened to the same records, and they’re all of the same vintage. And surely they're mates, as well.
“Dark Elf” is a gentler affair and is some very strong songwriting. It’s intense and dark, full of drama, and illustrates that the band has huge potential if they break away from the tradition they have placed themselves in. Vince Cuscana’s Gibson SG and Marshall quad box set-up blasts away and you can hear the classic ‘70s rock flow and groove. This is stoner rock with great interplay with co-guitarist David Wong.
The vocals are actually very well delivered in “Truths” (another strong song) and Vince’s guitars shine once again. This tune is really the highlight on this record.
Rok Bolder (is this his real name? it is great, and made me laugh) has that perfect raw harsh vocal - like the early Angry Anderson or Lemmy (with an Aussie slant) - as he bellows and howls with scorched earth effect. It’s a sound as distinctive as a nail against a blackboard. Rok is actually very good at what he does.
“Into Out” starts with more classic hard rock riffing and heads into territory staked out by the early Alice Cooper band. This turf is where the band makes its strongest mark. “Throne of Blood” closes this 17-song affair (it clocks in at an hour) and finishes things where they started: it’s yet more raw garage rock with rifferama and soundboard lights pushed into the red. The lead break shines to a backdrop of the band nuking the audience with head-banging delight.
There are a few songs that that a little weak; that said, it is a collection that’s honestly representing the band as a whole and also a document of historical record. This is not a band wanting to set the world on fire by making a creative statement. It’s making real music for the fans. The players are part-time musos whose weekend is their domain. It’s music for the end of a long five days of work - for that Friday or Saturday night when we can fuckin’ rock out. And of course it thumbs its nose to those who write about rock being high art.
As corny as this next line is, yes, this record is meant to be played loud. Loud enough to wake a dying party and get everyone moving. As opposed to putting on “Hotel California” as a sign that it’s over and you want the guests to leave.
and an extra middie for the wildly drunken encore at the end of the set