Retrosexual. How is that not a name yet? It could describe someone of any gender or sexuality who gets their rocks off by living with both bellbottom enclosed ankles in the period between 1968 and 1973. My sweet riff lord there are a lot of folk peddling (and that pedal is of course a genuine analogue fuzz bastard hand made by Orange in teak) the sounds of yesteryear to a new generation tired of what the current music scene is offering them. With albums like the excellent Brown Acid compilations bringing to the surface forgotten and ignored proto metal bands from yesteryear it begs the question are the new breed worth investigating when there is such a wealth of far out goodness from the past still within reach?
Et tu Brutus?
This Norwegian/Swedish hybrid have been in existence since 2007. Wandering Blind, their third full length album was recorded live in 4 days in Oslo by Christian Engfelt who certainly knows how to get the authentic proto metal sound these guys were after.
This is heavy blues rock for fans of Sabbath, Grand Funk and Blue Cheer so unless you like your denim soaked in patchouli and your roach ends soggy you better move on.
The title track opens up and my first feeling is disappointment. After a stormer of an opener that would have any rocker thrusting his or her thumbs in their pockets ready to rock it becomes so Ozzy/Sabs that it sounds like a cover. I end up singing Hole in the Sky over the chorus. Hey it’s a great song but it feels like a tribute baby. This aside these guys have got the chops and know how to treat the low end to keep things pulsing as well as get those boogie riffs that make flappy parts oscillating wildly.
“Drowning” that follows is straight up dirty blues rock and reels me in. (I knew I couldn’t resist for long). Here , Brutus bring to mind Rog and Pip the Coventry freaks recently resurfacing through Rise Above after 4 decades under tie dye dust cloths. There are elements of Zep in here but this is no exercise in plagiarism just wearing their hearts on their crushed velvet sleeves.
Axe Man is laced with electric kool aid and again borrows heavily from Sabbath but has me swinging my imaginary suede fronds from my pretend jacket. This is music to groove to in a field before stripping off and making love in a mud pit. Nowadays that would just result in a facebook and twitter storm and job losses all round but the rose spectral tinted glasses that Brutus wear make it seem possible for a minute or two.
“Whirlwind of Madness” slows things down a little laying on the blues with a spade before “The Killer” mixes Paranoid with Kadavar’s recent output.
When Brutus bring the funk in as on “Blind Village” they do it well. By the end of the track I am wigging out at my keyboard. “Creepin” has massive drums that you just wanna Bonzo your arms off to before you stomp about to the verse and shout along to the chorus. “I am so tired”? Not with this playing son!
“My Lonely Room” is one of those emotion soaked blues bastards that I was lucky enough to see performed by all and sundry in The Torrington, North Finchley in my formative years. Whether it was Ruthless Blues, Steve Marriott or Bad Influence they all wrenched the same pain and anguish out of 5 minutes that Brutus do here and I am immediately transported to days of illicit snakebite and black and 10 Marlboro Reds at 15 .
“Living in a Daze” brings my trip down memory lane to an end with it’s slab of Zep meets Sabs leavimg me with a grin so cheesey I could be sponsored by Dairy Lea.
I have to be honest here this is music to enjoy and let yourself go to not write about. There is nothing original about any of the 9 tracks here. What Brutus offer is a window into a different time and a chance to escape from 21st century gadgets and lives lived online. Sure, there are lots of bands offering it both in the present and in the easily accessible back catalogues but these guys could be that gateway to the fallen heroes. They walk it like they talk it. And that walk is loping, in bell bottoms, grinning ear to ear.
(7/10 Matt Mason)