Until now and until Italy’s specialty label Heavy Psych Sounds not only rediscovered the recordings but also were allowed to release them, what they did at the end of January, when Rides Again finally is available for our eyes to behold. Tatsu re-formed the group in 2018, and (rumor has it), has already loads of new material, but first he wanted to give us this present.
And my, my, my – what a ride this record is. 28 minutes of psychedelic stoner, with nods to all things heavy and like a bridge between the old and the new waves of heavy rock. Of course, the production is not clean like many regular heavy metal albums nowadays, it’s raw, rough and unpolished. When the distortion towards the end of the opening track “Super Witch” sets in, there might be quite a lot of stereos that cannot deliver its total crispy touch.
The songs sway between acts like Captain Beefheart and Sir Lord Baltimore, Mountain and Cactus. They are super heavy and fuzzed out to the max, but never over-steered or trying to show off, as they want to pay real homage to their own idols. They also do so through the two cover songs on the record – “Earthquake” by Graham Central Station and “Stay Away” by the Meters. The band is all about the good old time when fuzz-rock was a thing next to funk and rock.
“Jungle Cruise” is the highlight of the record with the brilliant guitar work that is somewhere between Afrobeat and Krautrock, some Mountain-like country rock and some flirry Jazz stuff. But the most impressive thing about the song is Fukawa’s drumming that is basically a pushing and emotive tribal beat that really makes your body sweat. Sometimes one hears about a song from this genre being the perfect soundtrack to a blaxploitation movie – the same can be said about “Jungle Cruise” but here the scene is a high intensity car chase along the New Orleans streets jumping in the Bayou.
Don’t expect anything surprising on this record – the band didn’t run amok and totally changed their sound and songwriting. What you get is what you wanted all along. Dry fuzz, awesome drumming, intense riffs and some modulations that do not seek attention gently but that will pull your head back by the hair and then give you one of the most rewarding, sexy kisses you ever got. Every little bone in your ear will be aroused by the unearthed treasure chest that is Rides Again.