This joyfully messy and chaotic album by Vancouver’s Boogie Monster proudly wears its influences on its sleeve. At times, it’s a shameless and unimaginative pillage of the monster riffs and fevered drumming of Providence’s legendary Lightning Bolt. At others, it’s a pop-flavored cachophony that brings to mind the enthusiasm and joy of Melt Banana, Deerhoof, Ponytail, and Parts and Labor.
When the blatant hero-worship is most apparent, the songs suffer. ‘Castle in the Clouds’ could easily be the coda for ‘Mohawkwindmill.’ ‘Lost in Bollywood’ has the same galloping drums and thick-as-molasses melodies as ‘Megaghost,’ and ‘Bullfrog’ shares ‘Dracula Mountain’s’ fuzzed-out tone and classic rock bombast. Clearly, Boogie Monster studied up on Brian Gibson’s bass tone and found a lot they liked.
When Lightning Bolt’s idiosyncratic style is used as a jumping-off point, rather than a template, things get much more interesting. ‘Transmissions Burst Through Sticky Lungs’ starts off as another LB rip-off, decomposes into a textured wash of cymbals and distortion, and coalesces again into a beautifully laid-back, chimy groove that picks up enough speed and weight to crush your skull. ‘Kabutops’ bursts out of the gate at breakneck speed, bringing off-kilter pop melodies to the party that remind me of Melt Banana and Hella. And ‘Cassius’ has a nice military cadence to it that brings some old-school hardcore discipline to their free-form meandering.
Clearly, Boogie Monster has a decision to make. If their only ambition is to be “the Canadian Lightning Bolt,” then they’re well on their way. Job done. But if they’re pushing to be something new, surprising, and innovative, then there’s much more work to do.
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