Monday, July 07, 2008

Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf

Considering the number of their most famous songs that are packed into this debut record, it is understandable how the band became so popular so quickly! Besides the ubiquitous “Born to be Wild”, this includes “Sookie Sookie”, “The Pusher” and “Everybody’s Next One”.

(See my review of their greatest hits record for more on these songs.)

Some numbers that casual listeners may not be overly familiar with includes the homage to Chuck titled “Berry Rides Again” – an amalgamation of lyrical and instrumental licks from the r’n’r innovator that actually works as its own tune. They then create a psychedelic blues with their take on “Hoochie Coochie Man” – great Mars Bonfire guitar on this!

“Your Wall’s Too High” is a cool, mid-tempo garage rocker while “Desperation” is an organ-dominated blues-y tune. They delve into psych-pop with “A Girl I Knew”, which is a little disjointed, but has some more fine guitar work. They’re downright poppy with “Take What You Need” that moves along at a nice pace and jumps back in after a fake ending.

The record closes with the political “The Ostrich”, which is a high-energy rocker with plenty of cool playing by everyone. This is another tune that was good enough to stand up to their hits, but was probably too overtly political to get much airplay.

Again, I’m a huge fan of this group so I am hardly objective, but this is a fantastic debut that displayed some of their best songs and also showed inklings of their future classics.