Legs Eleven - The New Invincibles (Off The Hip)
You thought "the New Invincibles" was a tag invented for the Aussie cricket team? Think again (especially after the Ashes loss). It’s the dying days of 2005 and this debut album from a Perth, Western Australia, four-piece - which came out a few months previously - almost slipped through the cracks. Almost. Thank the punk rock gods and pass the ammunition.
Although plenty will tell you there’s nothing new in the garage and that anything waving the flag of ‘60s punk/'70s derivation is so passé (thanks very much, Jet), they’re talking shit. Case-in-point: The New Invincibles. They manage to apply their own accessories to a well-worn suit - and if models don’t wear it when they strut down the runway at Fashion Week, well that’s just too fucking bad. And while on an anti-fashion bent, “Hot Pants” is a Hammond-driven dance song with a high tension beat and one of the finest tunes of 2005 by a country mile.
This is dirty garage rock with a sharp edge to the rhythms. There’s been a Lime Spiders comparison drawn in some quarters but if that particular dog’s baying, its bark isn’t particularly discernible. The Spiders, in their earliest form, were an altogether cruder beast with a more savage vocal approach (the sound of a larynx being dismembered and spat out) than Invincibles’ organist Tristan Demmler’s bringing to this party. Later, they cocked an ear to English power trios and then went metal. Plus, Mick Blood and Co only applied organ tones sparingly and in the studio. The New Invincibles’ “Sweet” might be an exception, but it’s a stretch.
So if Demmler’s no Mick Blood he’s still a helluva garage singer. Pity the band has to feel the need to resort to treating his vocals with those shitty megaphone effects on a couple of tracks. Scott Shaw plays some stinging guitar, too, in tandem with his Hammond and it’s heard to especially good effect on cuts like “Teargas” and the obstreperous “Fist”.
The band cites Question Mark and the Mysterians and Motorhead among other influences. There’s a cover of “Strychnine” rounding things off before a hidden track (a drinking song), but let’s drop the ‘60s punk comparisons for the sake of saying what it is and that’s a damn fine rock and roll record, with fuzz and Leslie’d Hammond organ applied.
“Legs Eleven” was recorded live to four and eight-track tape and sounds raw and immediate with minimal polish. The trendies won’t like it so you probably will.