Tapping into the same hip-shaking, sex-rock puddle of good times as Eagles of Death Metal, The Atomic Bitchwax is essentially three massive show-offs massively showing off, mugging for the camera and thrusting their talents in every conceivable direction like three brothers trying to win Grandma’s affections on a sugar high. Mixing the spirit of MC5 with an ADD approach to proto rock n roll and an unhealthy dose of psychedelia, the Monster Magnet rhythm section (plus guitarist Finn Ryan) has been getting faster and looser with every release since 1993, building to this point at which every spare second is filled with wailing sex faces, rampant, untamed, galloping libido, and a sound designed to lick your ears, grab your ass and tickle your taint. For the most part it works, and new album Force Field is every bit as giddily fun as that sounds, coming across like the soundtrack to a Thelma and Louise / Fear and Loathing / Wacky Races mash-up, but every party needs a chill-out room, and it’s noticeably what is absent here. The album rarely deviates from the speed rock blueprint, making it more one-dimensional than previous releases, with past experimentation like the single-song approach of The Local Fuzz or the slowed-down stoner groove of Ice Age abandoned in favour of all-out fret-board freakery, and whilst that’s not a problem in itself when the riffs are so consistently catchy, the unrelenting movement can become tiring, which is alarming considering the album is only 35 minutes long. With barely a single touch of the guitar strings left to hang for even a second, Force Field is a non-stop barrage of notes which bounce off each other constantly like a million ball-bearings poured into the Hadron Collider, blissfully uncool but revelling in their own frantic absurdity. The album also seems a bit more sweary than past releases, although that may be entirely down to album highlight Shocker, which sounds like Malcolm Tucker fronting early Supersuckers. If KISS are too classic for you, Danko Jones too restrained, and Rob Zombie too subtle, TAB may be just the ones the bitch your wax.
Force Field is out 8 December on Tee Pee Records and available to order here