What's the best thing to listen to after getting your ass kicked by a wicked double ear infection? Bruce!, apparently. And I'm sorry I wanted until I felt better before strapping on the headphones and letting their no frills rawk invade my aching ear canals, 'cause I get the feeling if I'd have commenced with the Bruce! treatment, their sonic power woulda rocked all those little microbes to death in a matter of minutes and I wouldn't have had to choose between booze and antibiotics.
Bruce! hail from Australia- Wollongong, to be precise, and carry the hard rock torch lit by all those great rockin' bands from the land down under. They've toured with trance boogie masters Endless Boogie and their bandcamp page offers rumors of an international tour. Keep your fingers crossed that they come stateside.
The album kicks off with Hell Gig, a Devil Went Down to Georgia like tune that is a bit more realistic than some evil fiddle battle in the middle of the woods. Bruce! meet their Devil in a bar and Lucifer wants them to be Hell's house band. But Bruce! politely demur, 'cause they're afraid Hell might not have enough whiskey on hand. Money and Go is next up, and with its stuttering geetar riff and cymbal smashing, you almost miss the hooky chorus that begs to be screamed live with beer in hand. I'm inclined to believe that Bruce! are a wicked live band, and the video below is exhibit A. Make You Proud is a punkish apology to the family of rock and rollers, those who chase their dreams and sacrifice exciting lives as accountants. Bottle in a Brown Paper Bag is a trancey psychedelic tune and I love it, but Screams of Silence is my personal favorite, with more punkish hollerin'. Alf is a space haze instrumental and the whole thing ends with a straightahead rocker, an ode to life on the road, On the Road Again.
You get heavy does of QOTSA's Rated R and the trucker rock of Roadsaw on this album. But the influences are varied and move from punk to stoner rock to psychedelic tunes and beyond. All this flows together seamlessly and the different styles complement the album, rather than sounding like a band struggling to find itself on wax. A lesser band might have made an album that sounds the way a kindergartner's collage looks, but Bruce! know what they hell they are doing. Bruce! does not let the listener become complacent. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. And if you don't pick it up now we'll remind you come December, cause there's no doubt this one will rank high on the Best of 2013 list.