It’s been twelve years since the last album of original tunes from second-generation psychemeisters The Morlocks. Now based in Düsseldorf, how much do Leighton Koizumi and his wild bunch still have left in the tank? Let’s bring it on…
Expectations are high, especially with ex-Fuzztones in their ranks. Garage rock fans are, rightly, notoriously fussy. So many bands end up diluting their legacy. ‘Bothering Me’, to this end, is a good opener. Hips will shake, and there’s a distinct whiff of Stiv to Leighton’s vocals. Handclaps and a corking solo? But, of course.
‘We Can Get Together’ wouldn’t be out of place in The Sonics’ set. The sound is perfect, just the right side of sleazy, tight but loose. They sound like they are loving it. The melody line is reminiscent of James Williamson. Mmm. There have to be slower tracks, and ‘Heart Of Darkness’ fits well, with its organ and backing vocals. It sways, man.
‘No One Rides For Free’ gets back on that Stooges, staccato riff. You really can’t sit still to this groove. ‘Down Underground’ and ‘Time To Move’ come on like garage classics. Seriously, this is a master class in how to write tunes. The thing most bands forget. This is actually the first Morlocks album of all-original material. It may have taken a while, but they’ve nailed it. They’re touring Europe soon; support bands, you’ve got your work cut out.
‘One Foot In The Grave’ is almost too close to ‘Raw Power’, but it’s so fine, I can let them off. ‘High Tide Killer’ is fuzz-fuelled, with a touch of baritone from Leighton, ‘Easy Action’ starts with drums and a wail of feedback before it pounds you into the dance floor. Relentless. They end with ‘You Don’t Know’; a touch of ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone?’, before it gets far out. The phased guitars sound great on headphones.
Hats off to the mixing skills of Jim Diamond of Dirtbombs. Between them, they’ve created the sound that The Morlocks’ songs deserve. I doubt I’ll hear a better garage rock album this year. Let’s hope they get to our shores after their current dates in Germany/France. Bring it on! https://www.facebook.com/MORLOCKS777/