Friday, February 08, 2008

B-Movie Rats – Radio Suicide (Rank Outsider Records)

Finally! The long-awaited B-Movie Rats CD is out! Recorded way back in 2002, this album has languished since the band broke up later that year. Thankfully, they kept the faith, believed in the music, found a like-minded record label (run by ex-Lazy Cowgirls leader Pat Todd), patched up some grievances and with the release of this CD, they have even decided to play some shows again!

Aurally smacking you in the face right from the start is “Bad Rain in Texas”. Wow! Superb guitar tones, licks flying back and forth as Curt Florczak and Matt Lake trade off, Derek Christensen shows once again that he is one of the best r’n’r singers in L.A. and Bill Graves and Andy Baker show off bass and drum skills that prove how far these cats have come from their punk rock roots! Nice use of dynamics as they come down quietly and then blast back at you with insane power and energy.

“Flat on my Face” starts off like an AC/DC outtake that builds into a terrific rocker with a fantastic “rescue me from Motown” chorus. They pile this song with hooks and great background singing and just when you think that’s it, they throw in some more rockin’ guitar riffs just to take it even further!

The guys cool down with “Cold After Dark”, a nice 70’s-styled…well, not exactly a ballad, but a slow, moody, almost rootsy, almost bluesy tune. Graves intertwines his bass with the two guitars effectively and tastefully and, again, Derek’s singing really shines and shows his versatility. Really emotional guitar playing, as well. Both Curt & Matt are excellent throughout the record and while I thought their styles were pretty different when seeing them play live, they really blend and work together here as almost one package.

These two create an oddly dissonant riff for “Heaven” that is still catchy and they manage to find a cohesive and cool song with different parts that you probably would think shouldn’t work!

The title track is damn evil sounding and shows off more versatility by everyone. Again, truly original licks and clever guitar interplay and the band plays as a band – playing off of each other and each contributing to the whole. Pretty freakin’ cool!

“Simmer Down” explores more bluesy areas with some very nice slide playing. More slide guitar is highlighted in “Barcelona”, an ode to one of their favorite cities in Europe.

The closer is “Renegade”. Opening with a great guitar riff, building with an almost off-beat chord progression, it then explodes into a rockin’ number with group vocals, still more fine guitar work and tons of interesting changes. There’s another cool breakdown which blasts back in with an amazing scream ala “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

Don’t expect hyper-speed punk rock like their first releases, but for those who love 70’s styled punk’n’roll, this is a must!