The Masonics – Obermann Rides Again (Dirty Water Records)
LP, CD, DL
Masters of the Medway Beat, The Masonics, are back with another foot-stomping, fist pounding record to delight the garage heads among us. Nathan Whittle checks it out.
On their new record, Obermann Rides Again, underground garage legends The Masonics power through 14 tracks of pure stripped back rock & roll bliss with an exuberant energy that would put bands half their age to shame. They stir up an aural riot right from the start with opening couplet I Ain’t Hurting For You and Don’t Torment Me, which kick off the shake and roll vibe that fits and starts throughout and sets out a lyrical stall for the rest of the record.
Heartbreak, lust and yearning set to the backdrop of driving distorted guitars, filtered through rose-tinted spectacles that dreamily gaze back to the Teenage Shutdown! bands of yesteryear and drive ever forward, influencing swathes of young upstarts that steal their deserved limelight and acclaim.
When they drop back off the pace, such as on the wistful I Don’t Understand Her Any More, the rhythms start to shiver gently through the bones, sliding up the back and rolling round the head, pulling you further under their spell. However, it’s not long before they’re back aboard the full on rock n roll train. Stand out stomper You’re A Stranger props up the middle of the record with its pounding beats and fuzzed out guitar riffs, ensuring that the record rollicks on in head-shakin’ fashion, while I’m A Redacted Man keeps the hips swinging; the two songs bookending the driving You Won’t See Me Again. Closer, and title track, Obermann Rides Again hurls the listener into a rock n roll pit with such pure infectious abandon that it leaves you hanging with the only choice to flip the record and start the ride again.
Like The White Stripes, who the Masonics say had the pleasure of closing their gigs in the early ’00s, there’s nothing new on show, just the perfect modern encapsulation of ground tread heavily before. On this album, they have crafted a garage rock n roll rollercoaster that whips you up into a frenzy, drops you down to cruise spellbindingly along, before lunging headlong into driving rock n roll.
Long have they been with us and long may they continue to thrive, shake, rattle and jive.
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All words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.