Big Deal. What's He Done Lately?
If you enjoy the raw garage rock sounds of the 1960's, it is your lucky day. From Lincoln, Nebraska and the might Alive records arsenal comes the newest from Brimstone Howl which is sure to tickle your fancy and satisfy your lo-fi cravings for at least a bit.
Brimstone Howl has finally achieved an album production that best suites their sound, venturing far from the magic of the studio, and relying on an extremely lo-fi, "live" feel for their fourth album, Big Deal. What's He Done Lately? Not that previous records have fallen short of the vintage swagger, this one just has the perfect amount of noise, dirt, and squirrely notes that give it the authentic garage rock sound. Along with the low fidelity comes gallons of reverb that could easily pour out of the record itself if held at just the right angle, drenching everything from the vocals to the lead guitar squawls. Musically, this album is more straight forward than previous material, sticking mostly to aggressive, driving tempos that give this Brimstone Howl a much more punk rock edge than before. The song writing follows suite, with simple verse/chorus repetition with short, noisy guitar solos thrown in sporadically for color and kicks.
As far as the music goes for this record, Brimstone Howl exhibits hints of the Ramones, Television, and the Cramps stylistically with the production quality of The Sonics. Most songs on Big Deal... are short, falling just below the three minute mark, thus the album is easy to digest in one listen. Highlights include "Easter at the Lewises", with dirty lead lines screeching from a slide guitar and quirky lyrics that are indeed one of this band's strongest points. "Suicide Blues" sounds like a long lost track from the early Velvet Underground with hypnotic percussion work and simple guitar hooks that you will swear that you've heard before. Not that Brimstone Howl is ripping anyone off, far from it in fact. They have merely done their homework, borrow both vibe and taste from their influences, and are content in sounding the way that they do despite what might be occurring in the world of music. This will assuredly guarantee them a position as one of the most authentic garage rock revival acts today. -Andrew Bryant