Monday, April 19, 2010

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Battlehooch are one of the strangest of all Bay Area bands currently active. While their contemporaries were sitting in Starbucks listening to freshly burned Death Cab CDs, the six members of Battlehooch were busy growing out their massive moustaches and bobbing their heads to vintage Beefheart LPs. And it paid off, too--Battlehooch are one of the most successful and enduring of all the new “Bay Area Rebirth” bands. However, while Battlehooch have always been famed for their strangeness and eclecticism, this album doesn’t stray far from one musical template. “Somersaults,” “Caliphate,” “Red Tide,” and the title track are all blurs of shoegazey reverb, weird horns, and sleazy organs that might be vaguely interesting for one track, but wear on the mind after a full album. This is supposed to be experimental rock, after all, and templates are taboo. The best song on the album is the thunderous “Human Ram,” which has vocalist Pat Smith screaming “I am the human ram!” over scary blues-punk ironworks. While there are a few other fine songs, we hope they put some topping back on this tropical hot dog for their next release.

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