Rock music has moved underground. The mainstream now belongs to hip hop, dubstep, and the like. As a rock fan it’s sad to see turntables, computers, and drum machines replace electric guitar, bass, and real drums as the essential appendage to sex and youthful rebellion. Although being a thirty-two year old fat man doesn’t really make me much of an authority on either sex or youthfulness, I’d like to think I’m still a rebel and as such I’m always on the hunt for bands that play rock and fucking roll the way I like it, which is either the wailing blues based psychedelia of the sixties and seventies or the pretentious prog-rock of the same era. Radio Moscow and their latest album “The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz,” the band’s third, belongs to the former category with a few snippets of the latter.
Radio Moscow’s influences are obvious; Hendrix, Cream, Sabbath, Zeppelin or for the rock snobs out there Blue Cheer, the Groundhogs, and Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac. The music on Magnafuzz continues this tradition with enough originality to rescue it from being an orthodox recreation of the past.
“Little Eyes” opens the album in volcanic fashion with a howling speaker blowing guitar solo by the band’s resident virtuoso Parker Griggs who also serves as the album’s drummer, vocalist, harmonicaest, and water pipe lesliest. It’s a fantastic high energy track that sets the pace for the entire record which is nearly all speed, fuzz, and wail.
“Creepin’” is a nasty piece of funky blues while the instrumental “Desanaflorativa” is Parker doing a bit of afro beat on his drum set while accompanying himself with some Jimmy Pagesque guitar soloing, think “Heartbreaker” from Zepp’s second album. There’s even a part toward the end just before the creepy distorted voices that sounds like Jimmy Page’s instrumental “White Summer/Black Mountainside.” The voices fade into the head-banging riff for “I Don’t Need Nobody” which is more of the loud blues-rock that the band has mastered in the last 4-5 years.
“Insideout” contains some truly brain-liquefying soloing from Griggs while “Deep Down Below,” is the closest the album comes to traditional American blues with Parker busting out the slide and grooving along with the scant lyrics before erupting into another ear drum puncturing rocker which will piss off any blues purist who may still be listening.
I’ve spent a lot of time praising the bad assery of Parker Griggs’ guitar playing and drum pounding, bassist Zack Anderson deserves just as much praise. His bass rocks and grooves traveling with every note that fires out of Parker’s amps. He is to Parker what Jack Bruce was to Eric Clapton when those two were shooting up rocket fuel and jamming for hours at the Fillmores in the late sixties.
While the album does expand on Radio Moscow’s two previous albums by upping the ante on energy and psychedelics it isn’t “Exile On Main Street.” Like their other albums it will probably never be considered as an all time classic, partly because it will only be heard by a tiny fraction of humanity, but mostly because it lacks variety and it’s just not revolutionary or original enough to change the face of music. That being said I love the hell out of it. 5 stars.