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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Radio Moscow, Subba Culture

Radio Moscow

The Great Escape Of Leslie Magnafuzz

Psychedelic riffage for the mind, body and soul. Radio Moscow unleash their heavy, heavy monster sound.


Within rock's onward progression and mutations it's often a case of two steps forward, one step back. Iowa-formed Radio Moscow are a band with a firm belief in such retrogression, their sound being a mix of late 60's, in-the-red psychedelic blues rock, and early 70's British proto-punk. With riffs as heavy as a dose of PCP laced skunk they sound as if they'd be equally at home playing at a Hell's Angel approved stoner festival or being the house band at a Ladbroke Grove squat party circa 1969.

Despite their power-trio vibe, for studio purposes they're actually a two piece, with wonder-kid Parker Griggs on vocal duties along with playing all the instruments except the bass, which is ably supplied by Zach Anderson. For live gigs Cory Berry takes over on the drum stool.

It would seem that rather than being the central character of a grand concept album, the Leslie Magnafuzz of the title is more likely an amalgamated nod to the band's love of revolving speaker cabinets and vintage effects pedals, with the Great Escape part perhaps referencing Griggs' recent incarceration for possession of marijuana.

There's certainly some righteous anger from the off, album opener Little Eyes containing the kind of intense guitar wig-outs that most bands save for their set-closing opuses. Proof that old school guitar heroics are not necessarily a thing of the past. It's the beginning of a trip worth strapping in for, best listened to on headphones, so as to better experience the kind of widely panned revolving speakers not heard since Hendrix got all serious and started getting into Miles Davis. The intensity continues with No Time and Speed Freak, Griggs' guitar playing containing a doom-laden darkness that Tony Iommi would give another finger for.

As well as his unfortunate brush with the law, it appears Griggs may be having some girl trouble – Creepin' and Misleading Me both full of my-woman-done-treated-me-wrong affronted paranoia.

The album builds on the template the band created on their first two albums (2007's eponymous debut, and Brain Cycles from 2009), with Griggs' voice and writing having grown in stature. There's now an extra notch of ability, energy and ambition. The band have recently re-located to a remote ranch in Northern California, let's hope this means their sonic adventures may long continue. Now pass me that space cake dude.

Click here for Radio Moscow's website.

Duncan Fletcher

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