Saturday, February 14, 2009

Garage Rock: Everything! Nothing Less. The Revellions!

The Revellions

Dirty Water Records

It's only fitting to write about my true thought that the greatest rock 'n' roll is being made today. I've always known it, and there's more proof of it. We need primitive, nasty rock 'n' roll. The sudden passing of Lux Interior makes it only more evident. That guy had did more than Keith Richards tripled, but also looked a lot beter at it. Everything about Lux was primitive. It was smooth, seductive, but still primitive. Kinky, but not dirty. Therefore, I find myself sharing with you Dublin's The Revellions. Not exactly ghoulish or zombie rock, surf, garage, or garage punk, but a glimpse of perfection somehwere in between. It's nothing less than primitive, but it's a sound. The music itself is steeped in floodlike surf and blues that goes beyond, but with a farfisa! If there's one thing to ascribe to them, it's garage rock.

"Ain't No Fool" gives the heaviest Farfisa out there. It first hints at Strawberry Alarm Clock with darker overtones, but Ali Moore's vocals are scratchy, '60s garage punk. It's somehow melodic, intense, but raw at the same time. One of the common themes in rock 'n' roll is teenage angst no matter what genre, but once we grow past our teen years, we find that slight angst in songs about girls that put us in another time. One can't say The Revellions leave that element intact: they are that element, but James Lister's semi dissonant guitar echoes make the relationship confusion more prominent. On the other hand, the vocal harmonies "Don't say you will" sound early beyond most of our years. Other tracks like "Down On Your Luck" take on "Have Love, Will Travel" with a little bit of Yardbirds, while "It's Up To You" have a tribal beat that takes center stage, but James Lister puts out some great vocal chops that are quite convincing when he shouts "It's up to you". Another thing one notices is something that permeates the whole album: most songs have great backup vocals that lend a wholeness to The Revellions as a complete band.

The following tracks like "I Don't Mind" and "Groundswell" show off the fastest true surf guitar around, but "Groundswell" is so fast and loud that touches on punk! The Revellions don't hesitate to give full effect to Thomas D'Arcy's Farfisa on "Not The Attraction", but the combined howls and guitar are almost heartbreaking. Children of The Cramps, indeed. Reminders of "Human Fly", "She Said", and many others are found throughout The Revellions, but that's also the mood many of us are in. Another standout track is the organ heavy "Have It All" with additional tremolo guitar added, but the song also a great reverb cascade that's nothing less than shockingly good, but a great organ solo follows it that's equally sonic. There's also the Mick Smith's primitive, fast beat of "You're Tellin Lies", a song that falls inbetween ghouly surf, fuzz, and organ swoons. In a final gesture to eeriness, the slow psychedelia of "one Of A Kind" adds either a theremin or a monophonic keyboard and a smooth, detached vocal on slow parts, but the tempo changes and what follows is primitive garage rock much in the spirit of Electric Prunes or 13th Floor Elevators, only with great surf guitar and beats.

The Revellions had their album release party last night in Dublin with the equally talented, fuzzed up countrymen The Urges. It's my honest opinion that this was probably the coolest show to take place anywhere in the world. I'm sad I missed it. The Revellions are fuzzed out surf/garage punk/psychedelia with great beats, howls, and everything else one would want and expect for great garage rock. In fact, the next time anyone asks you what is garage rock, tell them about The Revellions. Blasting surf guitar, loud, primitive beats, great sweeping organ, some psychedelia, and a lead singer who can both scream and sing chills up your spine AND make the your hairs stand up. As if by no surprise, the album was produced by Mike Mariconda and Jorge Explosion at Circo Perotti, where The Urges, Hollywood Sinners, The Cynics and others have gone to make monumental rock 'n' roll. The Revellions are too good (that's an understatement) for anyone to let pass under your radar. If you love garage rock, this is your album.

Presently, the album is available directly from Dirty Water Records and online retailers, but you should all be screaming for it from your favorite online indie retailer or local store.

There isn't much video available, but one good turn deserves another.

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