Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HOT LUNCH (2013)

While my deepest musical love is '60's soul and rock n roll, I *do* dig branching out into different terrain when the sound and vibe moves me. Oakland, CA's Hot Lunch works in an area that brings to mind bands such as The Pink Faieries, Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, The Gun, Deep Purple (at their most balls-out) and (a name that is dropped far more often than actually relevant) Black Sabbath. Hot Lunch has a very important ingredient that they share with these bands- namely, the unstoppable GROOVE. Lots of "heavy" music loses me as a listener due to plodding grooves that get lost in the mud, lack of hooks, lack of composition and an overall lack of clarity. Not so with these bay area fellas; no matter what tricky time changes they are navigating through (these dudes are TIGHT), the band maintains this groove that makes me wanna get DOWN.

Listening to this record (and seeing the group live) reminds me of the photo inside Blue Cheer's OUTSIDEINSIDE LP where where the group pic is shot with slow film, making drummer Paul Whaley look like an octopus behind the drum kit (which, through his crazy time stopping rolls, certainly sounded like). Hot Lunch drummer Rob Alper is ALL OVER the kit, octopus-like, yet somehow keeps it rooted in that aforementioned GROOVE, as he and bassist Charlie Karr are the type of rhythm section that are seemingly sharing a brain and locked into every minute nuance of making this mother swing HARD.

Aron Nudelman (on guitar) keeps it interesting and his playing adds a surprising clarity of tone and taste while still maintaining the heavy-as-hell vibe. Glorious Fender amp reverb adds a soulful, human element to the massive riffing. Frontman Eric Shea showcases an incredible vocal style that, even at full throat-shredding throttle, stays melodic, powerful, and highly charismatic.

Side one closes with the epic "Lady of The Lake"; the band's most outwardly psychedelic track that matches vivid (and warped) lyrical imagery with the type of haunting and trippy melodies that bands such as Juicy Lucy brought to wax as the dreams of the 1960's turned into the freaked out, comedown aspect of the psychedelic trip. Other tracks include the revved up boogie of "She Wants More", the mood-shifting mind melt that is "Gold Lyre", and the no-nonsense, pure ass-whipping"Killer Smile" (hear below).

Among the excellent originals, the band takes ELP's most fiery moment ("Knife Edge") and somehow makes it their own and makes it rock HARDER.

More proof that those cynics who say the album as an art form is dead and buried are liars. This is the type of album that will reaffirm your faith in the power of rock and roll music.

Here's the band laying waste to Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco last week:

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