Five - Who's Gonna Take Us Alive? Review
The problem that dogs a lot of new Garage
music is the fact that it's mostly terrible. Most of these bands, like
the Strokes and the White Stripes latch onto the wrong notions of Garage
rock and completely miss the point. Not so with LA's The Bangkok Five.
On their new album, Who's Gonna Take Us Alive, these Hollywood gutter
Garage punks kick the door in and ransack the place. Keeping the energy
and not worrying about the cooler-than-thou posturing, the band fuses style
and substance in a rollicking major-label debut. Forget trends or style,
whether they have any or not, The Bangkok Five rock in that most satisfying
of ways, completely.
The more radio-friendly version of neo-Garage
is glutted with minimalist bands that rely more on winks and giggles than
on any sort of substance. The Bangkok Five waltz right in and stomp all
over that minimalist philosophy. This record is about balls out Rock and
Roll, not haircuts or who the singer is dating. Who's Gonna Take Us
Alive comes complete with huge riffs, well-placed solos, and enough
hooks to fill your tackle box. All the same, the band doesn't rely solely
catchy convention. Some of the music here recalls Queens of the Stone Age
as much as the MC5 or Guns N Roses. Not surprising since The Bangkok Five
have previously worked with Stoner Rock stalwart, Chris Goss. The record
sounds like what an Eagles of Death Metal record could sound like if Josh
Homme took them a little more seriously and added some of his other band's
monster riffs to the equation. That's not to say that WGTUA feels staid,
buttoned-down, or mechanical in any way. Down and dirty Rock and Roll never
sounded so loose and fun.
The sound on the entire records bears mentioning.
From the gigantic tone on the riffs, to the responsible use of electronic
elements and samples, the band has nailed the production on this record
thanks to Sean E and Ryan Boesch. The guitars jump right out into the front
of the mix, as they should, and everything else falls into place around
them. Add to that well-balanced song-writing that features paint-peeling
guitar in just the right ratio to more spacious arrangements and you've
got a killer album. Leather jackets and guitars transcend any kind of trend
if the music backs it up. A bled-together mix ensures that chaos reigns
supreme, but the individual instrumentation is still solid. Little guitar
and drum fills pepper the recording and keep things interesting on repeated
listens. Finally, a record that never gets boring or overdone.
Attitude often dominates Rock and Roll,
too often without anything to back it up. The Bangkok Five have attitude
in spades, and they deliver with songs from the heart that club you over
the head with diamond-studded swagger. More than just Buckcherry without
the coke-fueled energy or the Strokes without the "I just had a Stroke"
laziness, the Bangkok Five throw their own brand of straight-forward
Garage rocking punk into the ring. It might as well be the towel for some
of those other bands.
article: From Lowfive to Bangkok Five
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