When two thirds of the band are recording and touring with another band it is quite a feat to write and record an album as damn good and rockin’ as Gravitron. When that other band is Monster Magnet who famously sang about their allergy to hard work on “Power Trippin’” it is even more impressive.
Gravitron is the trio’s 6th long player and it displays all the traits that make TAB stand out above the legions of stoner and desert rock clan. Equal parts Kyuss, Parliament, Sabbath and MC5, this is a Garage funk band that play the blues racing for pink slips in a souped up muscle car.
This album is riff heavy 70’s rock smoked through a punk pipe. Fuck I feel like I have landed in metaphor land here. I am trying to type but another track has started and my air bass is causing smelling mistakes! This album is the summers I used to dream of full of girls in cut off denim shorts and cold beer and trips to a lake. (What I got was a walk round the pond with a can of Scrumpy Jack!)
By now you have decided whether you will dig this or got back on your troomobile for a trip back to grimsville. See ya!
For the rest of us Gravitron opens up with “Sexecutioner” which hits the gas hard from the first note, the drums rushing to keep up with the guitars and bass. This is desert rock with crystal meth mixed into the mescaline. I have to remind myself that these guys are from New Jersey and not Santa Fe. “No Way Man” opens with an almost Rancid bass line before the guitars take it soaring back to the classic rock sound. This track is reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age or even early Foo’s in its catchy hooks and vocal lines but the guitar groove is for the rockers not the Hot Topic kids (ooh Matt you snob you). “It’s Alright” would be a great soundtrack to a bar fight. A cinematic one with sugar-glass bottles and pre sawn bar stools . I am thinking A Team or Roadhouse not Wetherspoons Friday night. Pumped up testosterone fuelled, whiskey soaked rock the slightly more nasal vocals add to the urgency here.
“War Claw” (what a great name for a track ) see’s TAB return to a spacey place with riffs spiralling off into the stratosphere for this instrumental journey. The band like to let their instruments do the talking on a few tracks here and each one stands up amongst its vocal filled brethren. “Fuck Face” is Stoner to the core, all frenetic fret work and dense beats whereas “Down With Swirl” opens like Primus and keeps a fucked up funk groove going throughout and the Hammond adds to the spice. These guys know how to have fun with their choons and I can picture them gurning in delight as another note or beat drops on the face of the joyous listener.
When Chris Kosnick is singing I am struck by how good his voice is. It fits with the music perfectly and his delivery is punchy and clear whilst still sounding raw and legit. I am looking forward to hearing it live for the first time at Desertfest in a couple of weeks. “Proto World” is another drag race of a track with Bob Pantella’s bass providing the engine rumbles while Finn Ryan thumps away at the asphalt. You need a trucker cap and some aviators for this one. “Roseland” is a more grungey affair – more STP and latter day Nirvana than Mudhoney. “Ice Age – Hey Baby” brings the whole kit and caboodle to an end with a Beach Boys meets 70’s UK Glam stomp . This is the first track that hints at Chris and Bob’s day job with Wyndorf and co. and whilst not a bad track it is not a worthy bookend for this aural tome.
Overall “Gravitron” delivers good time rawk and roll with balls that will make a rainy night in (insert dreary province here) seem like a sweat soaked adrenaline fuelled joy ride across your fave road movie landscapes. Well worth the trip.
(8.5/10 Matt Mason)