Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Despite being a roiling hotbed of various riff & roll reprobates (Roadsaw, Cracktorch, etc.), Boston still persists in its rep for being the center of the intellectual rock universe. That’s as may be, but with a combo like Gozu treading the boards, it’s time to exit the classroom and head to the grimiest rock club you can find. Made up of various scene veterans, the quartet blasts out a superior brand of hard rock on its debut full-length Locust Season. Not content to simply rewrite Monster Magnet (yeah, I know, work with me here), the band pays as much attention to groove as to grunge, letting the licks slide across rubbery grooves like massage oil over a curvaceous ass. Frontdude Marc Gaffney occasionally slides into macho bluster, but he’s surprisingly supple on the majority of the tracks, adding a dash of sardonic wit and a soupçon of soul. Better yet, the whole band exhibits a sense of humor rare in neo-classic rock circles. Just try not to grin at titles like Jan-Michael Vincent, Regal Beagle and Kam Fong As Chin Ho – it’s impossible, especially since they’ll be rocking your huevos off anyway. As is usual for acts of this ilk, the record ends with an epic, but, with a soaring melody and Gaffney’s best vox, the nearly eight-minute Alone is more than just an exercise in excess. Locust Season satisfies on a purely visceral level, especially if you love 70s-style hard rock ‘n’ riffola. But there’s potential here for transcendence, and that’s what distinguishes a good debut album from a great one.
- Michael Toland