This is not so much a review as a public service announcement. I say this because around six months ago someone shared an Endless Boogie track on a Facebook list I belong to. I’d never heard of the band before (they were formed in 1997, how the hell had I avoided them?) but many of the other people on the list waded in with superlatives of delight, praising the band to the sky. This, of course, piqued my interest and within hours I was totally sold on Endless Boogie, and have been playing catch-up with their oeuvre, ‘Vibe Killer is their fifth studio album, ever since. So if, like the 2016 me, you’ve not heard of this band I suggest that you remedy this at your earliest opportunity because they are just fantastic.
No sooner had I caught up with the band’s output than they announced a new album which, to my relatively new Endless Boogie ears, is both a continuation and further honing of the band’s heavy psychedelic blues sound. This is the sound of Endless Boogie sounding better than ever, and some of the tracks on here are amongst the best releases of the year as far as I’m concerned.
The album opens with the title track. From the outset ‘Vibe Killer’ sets the standard for the rest of the album to follow, launching straight into a repeating blues riff with Paul Major’s trademark growl adding its usual level of grime and grit to an already sleazy musical background. Then, after about three minutes Jesper Eklow’s guitar soars off into a solo that is nothing short of magnificent, and excursion that raises itself way about the rest of the track. I’m in danger of running out of superlatives on the first numberhere, and that’s because its pretty damn near perfect…because it induces just the right balance of excitement, wonder, disguist and fascination. Seriously what a track!
So how the fuck do you follow that? ‘Let It Be Unknown’ fades in, and it too is immediate. The whole band is working well together, with the two guitars complementing each other and the lyric even more gravelly than before. Shorter and a little more ponderous, this nevertheless still kicks some serious ass as it builds up towards an ending that comes far too soon…its more like a fragment than a track really, too short even at nearly four minutes.
With a title like ‘High Drag, Hard Doin” you pretty much know what you’re going to get here. This, like most of Endless Boogie’s output, is the sound of personified hard living. This is music of the bar, of the weekend, of escaping life into something heavy and without limits. It’s a trick that few bands can pull off, but this one do it while sounding effortless in achieving it. This, I think, is why I like Endless Boogie so much, because they are so good that their music belies the undoubted hard work that will go into making it. You can’t sound this laid back by accident.
Moving over onto ‘Side 2’, ‘Bishops at Large’ is another total killer of a track that builds up slowly but magnificently, with Major emoting the track’s title with an Iggy Pop intonation that adds an additional element to this more nuanced and considered track. The blues is still there, but this is track is also funky is a totally understated way.
Then, oh man, then! ‘Back in ’74’ is just an amazing track. Gone is the growl, but still there is the searing guitar, an ace chugging bass and sparse drums that are just right. The spoken word over this tells the story of when the narrator first saw Kiss ‘at a kite festival in St Louis, or he could be recalling a dream. Either way a great story unfolds as the track progresses that is replete both with dramatic tension and cultural reference. It’s a story that you could hear again and again (and I have already), while the backing track is again, well, just perfect…finally disintegrating into a single guitar…and then abrupt silence…
Last up, on the vinyl, is ‘Jefferson County’, a track that weighs in at over eleven minutes but never sees the band wavering from its tight structure as Major growls over the top in a way that seems to sound more menacing as the number progresses. As you listen to it you get drawn into the band’s world more and more as the psychedelic blues grabs hold of your senses and leave you craving more. Fortunately, the CD and download that comes with the album, there is more. The extra track, ‘Whilom’, is more of the same… and I’ll take that any day, drawing out this fantastic album even more and further enhancing an already amazing experience. While the download has two more cracking tracks as well (‘Trash Dog’ and ‘Warp, Weft and Pile’).
I may be new to Endless Boogie but I have fallen for this band hard…as hard and heavy as this album showcases the band’s sound and ability. ‘Vibe Killer’ is just that, simply an amazing slab of psychedelic blues rock that delivers in spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds. There’s not much more to be said really, just have a listen and tell me I’m not wrong! Because, on this occasion, I know I’m definitely not!
‘Vibe Killer’ is out now on No Quarter Records.