The Ringmaster: The Kneejerk Reactions "The Indestructible Sounds of..."
With a list of impossibly flavoursome bands and addictively thrilling releases on a CV longer than the list of excuses for Luis Suarez’s recent mid-match snack, the ubiquitous veteran rocker Sir Bald Diddley (aka Hipbone Slim) brings one of those stirring incitements out to play with a brand new album. The Indestructible Sounds Of The… is the new feverishly fleshed, raw breathed proposition from The Kneejerk Reactions, a release which casts out a rampant revelry of feet inducing garage bred rock ‘n’ roll aligned to a passion sparking sixties beat tempting. It is a flame of vintage sounds in the fresh distinctive framing of modern devilry amidst the unique creative juices of Sir Bald. Across its energetic and insatiably gleeful presence, essences of inspirations such as The Pretty Things, The Kinks, The Downliners Sect, Them, The Yardbirds, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Link Wray, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, The Sonics, and many more tease and openly spice up the party but only to add additional rich colour to the magnetic tapestry flirting with the imagination and emotions. The album is a stirring and unapologetically contagious provocateur which leaves appetite and feet wanting only more.
The Dirty Water Records released The Indestructible Sounds Of The… is the successor to The Electrifying Sound Of … which came out in 2008, though between albums there was the band’s contribution on a 2013 compilation of tracks and bands Sir Bald has treated ears with which went under Sir Bald’s Battle Of The Bands. The new album, which has really been too long in the coming, also brings Bruce Brand on rhythmic enticement, the drummer as keen a collector of bands as Sir Bald with the likes of Billy Childish, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers, Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, and Thee Milkshakes in his ever increasing résumé. His presence ensures a healthy bait of beats are in store which the opening Houdini easily proves.
The song instantly lures in ears with a delicious bass groove within a sway of Farfisa organ bred expression and a rhythmic pull as potent as the dark tones of the first key protagonist. The heroic call of the bass persists across the whole body of the song, providing one of those irresistible lures which allows guitars and keys to dance with unbridled frivolity through locked in ears. The vocals equally revel in the knowledge that the listener is caught by that prime hook, their raw and keen expression adding to the evolving wash of sound and enterprise wrapping that irresistible spine. It is a thrilling start to the festivities, one which the following I Want You To Love Me makes a keen attempt to emulate, though without quite matching its success. A pungent Stones breath adds wantonness to the restrained stroll of the song, a controlled walk guided by commanding beats and coloured by sizzling flourishes of guitar invention and organ crafted sultry hues for a vibrantly pleasing encounter.
Both It’s a Jungle Out There and Mover and a Shaker keep the temperature and fun high if again without finding the same spark as the first incitement. The first of the two sways in with a mix of surf and psychedelic smouldering which soon incites another infectious rhythmic shuffle and vocal glee as the track expands its warm and energetic charms. Again the guitar solo ignites an extra spark of satisfaction, whilst the song itself has feet and emotions up on their toes ready for its successor, a track which entices with a blues rock fever to its prowling temptation. With a growl to the vocals and salaciousness to the keys, the song is an insatiable romance for the ears, though soon looking a little pale against the outstanding Batgirl, I Love You. A spice of The Troggs offers its suggestiveness as the song opens with jangly scythes of guitar and punchy beats lorded over by great vocal tempting from Sir Bald and the band. The song is a romp which does not lose its control but still exhausts with an unrelenting dramatic seducing of limbs and appetite.
If I Had My Way brings its own keen accepted stomp next, beats and guitars a net of enthralling beckoning which the keys paint with evocative expression as vocals croon with anthemic glee. It is a deliciously swinging provocateur swiftly equalled by Give in to Temptation, another song where initial beats and bass seduction set up thoughts and passions for a riveting ride. There is an earthiness to the song, especially on its rhythmic side, which grips attention, a shadowed moodiness which superbly tempers the heated glaze of organ and flames of guitar. Though taking longer than other songs to convince, given time the track makes a just undeniably convincing declaration.
The pair of Pounding and Out of Reach offer rigorously enjoyable propositions but neither find the hooks or teasing to make a lingering success. The first is an acidic shimmering of keys over a rugged terrain of beats and guitar stabs whilst the second is a coarsely surfaced and snarling slice of satisfying rock ‘n’ roll. It again is missing something but as its predecessor still brings a broad smile to the lips and pleasure to the emotions. Between them though the instrumental Volatile lies mischievously, a wicked blaze of surf seeded humid sonic seduction gifted to ears. The guitars glisten with creative and expressive sweat whilst the keys glow with tropical elegance, their union a sticky tempting to which the chilled prowling of the bass and the inescapable call of Brand’s beats add an anthemic virulence.
The two closing tracks keep it all flying high with maybe less steamy but just as potent energy and contagion. Out of Here comes first, an instantly firmly treading stomp with a keen and pleasing if not overwhelming entrance. It is nevertheless an easy offer to fully embrace, even more so with the persuasive vocals but it is when the song hits its chorus that it transforms into a major pinnacle of the album. It is not a demanding or particularly unique moment but boy its epidemic catchiness is pure aural addiction. The song is a trigger to ignite any bland party or tepid day, an unrelenting tempter to ignite any unrewarding emotion. It is followed by the spicy heat of Habenero, a caustically coloured fire of melodic taunting and rhythmic coaxing within another hard to resist anthem of intent and body provoking devilry, the perfect ending to a festival of fevered sound.
The Indestructible Sounds of . . . is without doubt a real treat, maybe not the most corruptive temptress Sir Bald has uncaged but with so many great and varied releases and endeavours around him favourites and personal tastes dictate which finds a bigger or lesser success. It is a thoroughly enjoyable encounter for body and soul though and The Kneejerk Reactions a band no one should be slow in checking out.