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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Fire At Will

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Once again it’s time to dip into the old rock critic mailbag. Today’s massive missive comes from Monika Veronika of Throgs Neck, New York, who writes: “Dear Jeffrey: After reading your Kings Of Leon review and not believing that any band could possibly be as bad as you said they were, I disregarded your warning and bought their record. Boy, was I ever wrong! If anything, the Kings Of Leon are even worse than you described them. In fact, hearing their album has traumatized me so much that I’m on the verge of ending it all. What can I do to get out of this deep depression? I’m so distraught, I don’t think I can last another 30 minutes with all these horrible songs running though my head.”

Dear Monika: If half an hour is all you have left on the parking meter of life before it expires, then I suggest you run, not walk, to your nearest record store and grab a copy of the Bloody Hollies’ Fire At Will.

Why is this album the perfect pick-me-up for those dire days when time is of the essence? Simply because, despite having a full slate of 11 songs, this sonic speedball clocks in at a seriously svelte 29 minutes flat. In other words, Fire At Will is the kind of raucous rock ’n’ roll album that makes the Romantics, Fondas and Dishes sound like ELP, Genesis and Yes.

You can lay the blame for this screaming screechfest at the sneakered feet of Wesley Doyle, a budding musical genius with a wicked sense of humor who just might be the new Todd Rundgren of garage rock. Because not only does Doyle write all of the band’s songs (think Ron Mael on meth), he’s also their singer (think Geddy Lee on meth); guitarist (think James Williamson on meth); harp player (think Richard “King Biscuit Boy” Newell on meth); and producer (think Steve Albini on heroin).

Doyle also knows enough to have a killer rhythm section behind him: skin slammer Mike “Dario” Argento and bass brutalizer Phill Freedenburg.

Sure they dress like Ed Norton in Fight Club, but that’s just the point, Monika: after listening to this album you’ll be too weak to pick up that razor blade, climb over that bridge railing or heft that revolver.

Tyler Durden says: Every album is a postponed suicide.

The Kings Of Leon notwithstanding, you might as well live.

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at letters@metrotimes.com.

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