From Kid Dakota to Former Bullies and Middle Class Rut, W&H have come across a slew of bands in recent years that proved there was a damn sight more to the guitar and drums duo set-up than merely The White Stripes.
However, if we were to establish an award for the heaviest racket to be obtained from merely one guitar, a minimal drum kit and a microphone, it would surely go to this lot. LEFT LANE CRUISER is Freddy J IV (guitars/ vocals) and drummer Brenn ‘Sausage Paw’ Beck. They hail from Fort Wayne, Indiana, play gonzoid stoner Blues-Rock at ear-splitting volume and clearly don’t give a flying one what anyone else thinks.
Such is the bedrock upon which a lot of great Rock’n’Roll is built and there is indeed some great Rock’n’Roll on ‘Junkyard Speed Ball.’ Recorded with one of Rock’s great unsung heroes, Jim Diamond, at Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders, it’s the third LLC LP (following on from 2008’s ‘Bring Yo’ Ass to the Table’ and 2009’s ‘All You Can Eat’) and it kicks like the proverbial mule.
Songs like ‘Circus’ and the riotous opener ‘Lost My Mind’ give you some idea what to duck and cover from. Built upon lumbering John Bonham-style drumming and bitten by swamp snake delta blues riffing, they are looming, ill-tempered backwoods beasts howling their dirty hearts out at the full moon and quite possibly fuelled by the sort of 110% proof stuff celebrated on the full-throttle ‘Weed Vodka.’
A little respite is provided when label-mate Reverend James Leg (from the Black Diamond Heavies) drops by to add Hammond organ and slinky Fender Rhodes to a few tracks. Of these, the amphetamine-strength ‘Giving Tree’ makes for a cool, redemptive and blues-y change of pace. The bizarre ‘Pig Farm’ is also (I think) an attempt at a lonesome ‘ballad’ of sorts, though it’s still utterly deafening, so I wouldn’t quote me on that. It’s not much of a breather anyway, for it’s followed by ‘Represent’: a crushing, Black Sabbath-style slice of vintage doomy blues-metal.
Subtlety, then, just ain’t these guys bag, so keep off the highway if you’re after winning melodies and (guffaw) love songs. On the other hand, if you like your blues-rock to sound as merciless as a quiet game of Russian roulette after a case of Jim Beam then go right ahead and flag Left Lane Cruiser’s manic sonic vehicle down.
Alive Records online