Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poobah - Let Me in

Let Me In
Ripple Music

The early 70s urped up so many longhaired freaks with Les Pauls it’s difficult to keep track of who’s worth digging up and who’s best left in the pine box. Still treading the boards, Poobah, hailing from the Midwestern hard rock bastion of Ohio, can confidently brush the twigs and worms off their sleeveless t-shirts. At its best, Let Me In – originally recorded and released as a six-song LP in 1972, now augmented with a dozen bonus tracks – recalls the giddy days before hard rock and metal became codified and acts had to sound one way and one way only in order to earn the loyalty of an audience of formerly open-minded headbangers. Hard rock originally evolved out of psychedelia, remember, and that’s pretty obvious here. The usual 70s excesses air themselves out, of course – drum solos, extended guitar wankery, songs about rock, maaaan, that are so dumb your neurons will spasm. But Poobah at its best displays enough imagination and freewheeling spirit that it’s easy to overlook eye-rollers like Rock N’ Roll and revel in the prehistoric metal of Mr. Destroyer and Walk the Bug, the psychedelic madness of Bowleen and I’m Crazy, You’re Crazy, the gorgeous folk rock of Enjoy What You Have, the blazing riff-rock of Smoke and the proto-punk of Live to Work. Leader Jim Gustafson has both an acid twinkle in his eye and a bomb in his hip pocket, and he’s just as apt to come on like a mischievous, electrified fairy as he is a grunged-out grizzly bear. On the basis of Let Me In, Poobah is more than just a shaggy curiosity from the Me Decade – it’s a band worth discovering for fans not satisfied with endless Grand Funk retreads on classic rock radio.

- Michael Toland

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