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coverpic flag US - Ohio - Full Moon 230 - 06/02/15

Obnox
Boogalou Reed
12XU

'Riddle me this: who on Earth makes 15 top notch records in 5 years and stays as obscure as Obnox monarch Bim Thomas? Not that there's been no love at all...now that the man seemingly spent as much of 2014 on tour as off, and dropped blazetastic videos for "Red I" and "Molecule/How to Rob," the spotlight is widening, and not just from the usual indie/undie blogs.. the Washington-by-god-POST has seen fit to recognize the 'Nox's bulletproof alloy of Cleveland-by-god-Ohio's two sturdiest musical ores: punk rock and soul.' (Ron Kretsch, for 12XU)

Obnox is the solo project of Cleveland's Lamont "Bim" Thomas. Last year Obnox put out Louder Space (on 12XU, as well), and 10 months (!) later a new album arrives (yes, sorry, this review comes 4 months late, I know). White a creative mind, this Obnox. According to Discogs he's already put out a second album this year: Know America (Label: ever/never) appeared in April! So, with his 2011 debut, I'm Bleeding Now (Smog Veil Records), Corrupt Free Enterprise (2013, on 12XU), and this record, he's spat out five albums in less than five years. Impressive!

Obnox steps out of the psychedelic garage with Boogalou Reed, as the spirit and soul of the record is raw and dirty rock. Bad-ass, filtyh garage rock merged with some basemant-punked stoner psych-rock, even of the grungy noise kind of music. Gospel-grunge punk, no, maybe rather some punch drunk, sonic rock holding good, bad and ugly vibrations. The instrumental "Wonder Weed" kick-starts the album, with a wall-to-wall garage rock sound oozing with burnt rubber. "Cynthia Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is a feet wide apart rock monster, with snarling guitars and sneering vocals. In fact, it is quite entertaining and catchy. "Slaughter Culture" is another punchy rocker, and as I only catch parts of the lyrics ('Michael Jackson with one glove...'), but it seems like he's joking and having fun all over. Tongue-in-cheek, with a 'don't come fook with me' attitude. Or maybe: come-fook-with-me! At times it sounds like he put most band in the blender to let it spin and mix into a wild cocktail: Led Zepelin, Black Sabbath, Ramones, Ministry, The Dictators, Mission of Burma, Deep Purple, The Stooges, The Seeds, Melvins, Kyuss, The 13th Floor Elevators, Misfits, Minutemen, The Replacements, Soundgarden, ... you name it. All of a sudden comes some 'modern' (dare I say hip-hop styled) rhythms and sounds into his school-of-rock mixture, and the confusion is total and highly enjoyable at the same time. "Situation" is something completely different, like it's being a noisy ballad. This is followed by a blistering, far-out "Ohio": yes, Neil Young's "Ohio" (the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 1970 classic). Full, frontal fuzz and distrotion, like a soundscape that is merging barbed wire, broken glass, razor blades and burning gasoline - and a Glasgow kiss. Well, this sound description goes for most of the album. This is the sound of rough, you know. Somtimes it gets way too tiresome, like with "Watching You", which also has this spoken wordish (uh, well, rap-chant-singing) vocal track. At times the guitar sound is wide as a semi-trailer truck is long, and as oily and juicy as a fat meat barbeque bonanza.

Boogalou Reed is mostly raw power - loud, brave and proud rawk. It seems that Obnox stands tall with his fuzzgrind wall-of-sound. To quote Kretsch once more, the music of Mr Thomas 'isn't going to win over any Future Islands fans to the cause.' Well, this is (mostly) great fun and a good bunch of humorous stuff. A frantic "Proto-pipe" closes the album, and I guess that's where the rest of his wonder weed went. Take a walk with Obnox on his wild side. The party starts here. This is not an excellently good platter, but it's somehow quite wild and wonderful. It's a party starter, ...and my guess is this could be a party stopper as well, at the same time. This is the obnoxious rock. Do the dirty, greasy boogaloo!

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