Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Demian – Demian

Bubble Puppy moved to LA and changed their name for this, their second record. This unusual moniker was taken from a Hermann Hesse novel – maybe hoping to replicate the fortunes of Steppenwolf? Unfortunately, the name change didn’t help them out at all and this record didn’t even have a minor hit, such as “Hot Smoke…” from the BP album. But this does have the same elements of their prior release – double lead guitars, plenty of melody and harmonies and some well written songs. This is slightly more hard-rock than psych, but still a good transition between styles.

Dual guitar riffs, power chords and pick slides appear immediately on “Face the Crowd” and the vocal harmonies come out right away, as well. Great, distorted guitar tones and plenty of power highlight this tune. A super start that shows you what is to come!

“Windy City” is a bit darker and more lead-centric and is a good example of the cross-over of late psych with hard rock. Love the playing on this, especially the cool guitar harmony lines.

There is plenty of nice vocal harmony work on the bass-led “Love People”, but I don’t really care for the semi-country leanings of this one. Back on track though is “Coming” – power chords abound and tons of heavy guitar leads! They never lose the melody, though, and the vocals work together for something unique and interesting on top of the super backing tracks. Phenomenal guitar trade-offs at the end! These cats were excellent players!

They reprise “Todd’s Song” from the BP album, but I don’t know if this is anything wildly different or necessarily “better”. Still good, though! “No More Tenderness” follows with more rockin’ riffs, a heavy groove and a highly melodic bridge section. A reggae-like syncopated rhythm drives “Are You With Me, Baby” (as superior as they are in every other aspect, their lyrics are not exactly poetry!), but it is still an intense piece of r’n’r.

One of their most high-energy slab of hard rock is the closer, “Only A Loner”. Really powerful backing but retaining great vocals. Moody and intense while still making you bang your head! The solo really builds in dynamics and creates something special!

This truly is a lost classic. Well worth getting for anyone who digs loud, heavy guitars that mix psych and raunchy, hard rock. (Thanks for the Xmas gift, Melanie!)