National Wrecking Company 2018
Riding into dystopian sunset, duo of blues buffs deliver dark document to detail the state of this mortal coil.
No rest for Jimmy Kunes and Randy Pratt, whose common stomping ground is CACTUS and whose individual experience extends far and wide to include such prominent ensembles as SAVOY BROWN and THE LIZARDS, as the singer and the bassist seem to always be on the lookout for something new to exercise their talents on. This time the two decided not to cast glances over the hills but get together for a muscular, gutsy record which, while steeped in tradition, offers futuristic fear loaded with sixteen tons of leaden tunes. It’s not an easy listening, then, yet it’s as irresistible as the sight of cloud – the only cloud without silver lining.
This is why, though the eerie epic “Blood Moon Rising” may outstay its cinematic welcome, there’s something riveting about the melodically repetitive dread that’s unfolding here, enhanced by a twin-guitar weave at the end. The spectrum of stinging six-string solos supplied by the duo’s friends runs from heavy metal to light fusion on the roaring “King Of All I See” where the group’s soulful edge is laid bare but, as “Beast” suggests, the veterans are at their most impressive when they attack smoldering blues, stating “We’re a well-known institution” and infusing the drift with social satire.
Not for nothing would “Return To Jesus” ride a playful spank, a supple chorus and a twinkling twang before Kunes’ voice is splintered into many parts as if to stress a sarcastic shift from this piece toward the throbbing of “Praise Yourself” that is highly infectious in its organ-augmented swells. Equally arresting is the sparse grace and gloomy rage of “Holy Creatures” – smoothed with predatory vocal harmonies and multilayered interplay. It will take the tight, taut funk of opener “Supersonic” to ram home the ensemble’s threat, with snippets of riffs scattered all around in kaleidoscopic fashion but without embracing speed and conforming to the track’s title, yet this tasty contrast also spills into “Molotov” making the music’s dynamic range and electric detail multiply along the way.
Still, seriousness won’t go away, as the album gravity is best felt on the doom-laden “Whirlpool World” – a weighty sequel of sorts to “Purple Haze” – that entails the even more dark and mental “End Of Days” and then, the silence… If this is a one-off project, there’s entire universe of gloom in it.