Cal 1982 / Out-Sider 2016
First proper issue of sole album by NYC bikers’ fave music gang – poised for success and having had none of it.
Homegrown was the way to go for this quartet who piqued Todd Rundgren’s interest and could’ve landed on Sugarhill had things gone right. But how could they, when the group’s only LP, a result of a half-decade’s worth of wowing beer-swigging crowds, landed on the lads’ laps mastered at wrong speed and pressed with faults – all 2,000 copies of it? Recently corrected, the record may lose a bit of psych edge, gaining instead a proper hard rock heft, Jeffrey Gaer’s meaty organ fleshing out Larry Calabrese’s guitar riffs on the funky likes of “Rock & Ride” and “Movin’ On Down” that tap into the underground rawness of STEPPENWOLF.
“Key To My Heart” opens proceedings in bluesy fashion, as splashes of piano roll the vocals towards romantic rumination and cosmic synth solo, while “What’s Going On” offers a political commentary on Reagan era. Contrasting these relentless cuts, there’s a folk grace in an instrumental reverie of “Today” that, given male and female voices, has an exotic air about it. Elsewhere, “Hard Day” is a foray into heavy soul – spiked with acidic wah-wah and smoothed with faux strings – and “Courageous Cat” a vertiginous slice of stoner rock, the soft kind of it to add to one’s mindwarp. Yet “Party Party” is dismissing whatever serious notion there might be: it’s an infectious slab of good-time rocking, complete with a drum extravaganza.
So yes, homegrown fun is back for all to join in.