Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lord High Fixers - Once Upon a Time Called Right Now

With the untimely death of singer Mike Carroll, I decided to explore the Lord High Fixers, since I am such a big fan of his previous band, Poison 13. LHF is definitely is an extension of the earlier project, but certainly not copying it. While P13 mixed blues (particularly), garage, and rockabilly, LHF concentrates more on the garage, but with a healthy dose of feedback'n'noise. At times, Carroll screams more than he sings (a precursor to death metal vocalists?) but for the most part he uses his gravely voice as a melodic part of the song.

Somewhat of an exception to that rule is in the opening "It's Your Curse", where he sounds like an early Darby Crash leading a smokin' garage combo - washes of feedback layered over a tight, hard-hitting rhythm section. Dig the dual lead guitar action, as well! I would not have expected this band to cover the Creation's "Makin' Time", but that they do, in a properly trashy manner, with plenty more feedback and even a credible violin bow solo! Every song begins with squeals of feedback - which I dig! - and "My House is Burning" is no exceptions. A simple, two chord backing is propelled by snappy drums, crazed guitar, dynamic stops, shrieks from Carroll, and yes, more feedback! They almost use it in a melodic fashion, or like it's own instrument ala Metal Machine Music. Really fascinating, in an ear-splitting way.

"Down the Barrel of a Gun" is fairly reminiscent of Poison 13, with heavy, bluesy, tremelo'd guitars and P13-styled licks'n'leads, and cool call'n'answer vocals. More squank'n'squeek for the intro of the funky, soulful, "Watch My Thirty Two",  that keeps the wailin' guitars, but adds a funky beat and a groovy organ. This EP closes with, yes, even more squealin' guitars for their manic version of the Animals' "Inside Looking Out" - the guitars howl in pain non-stop here, Carroll is in his element, there are great call'n'answer vocals and a wild, extended guitar solo! Pretty frantically amazing!

I wasn't sure what to expect from this band, especially since I am such a big fan of P13, but after a few listens, these cats are pretty damn stellar themselves. Dig 'em!