New Bomb Turks
At Rope’s End (Epitaph)
by Jon Sarre
Any band who credits Cheater Slick Tom Shannon as “guidance counselor” in the liner notes of their record clearly has one foot on the precipice of greatness and the other foot teeterin’ on the edge of the proverbial wagon we all fall off every once in a while. That’s to say Columbus, Ohio trash-punkers turned Epitaph heroes New Bomb Turks continue to have their hearts and minds (and probably bleeding ulcers) in the right places, or to quote singer Eric Davidson’s rhetorical question, “Have you had your fill of cool?” Yeah, At Rope’s End is a smoker, onea those set-fire-to-the-turntable-(sorry, disc player)-and-try-to-douse-it-with-151-and-bacon-grease,-just-to-see-what-happens, cuz, goddamnit! the “Minimum Wages of Sin” (onea the blisterin’ punk rock vignettes on this record, complete with a Stooges and a Stones reference in the lyrics) is sure as hell more attractive than anything else I can dredge up at the moment.
Although the NBTs would probably be the first ones to reject the notion of basin’ lifestyle choices on their music (then again, live, they do constantly milk that rock star style, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek sorta way), the ride they give the lucky hitchhiker is so broken-rollercoaster unhinged that yer intoxicated enough to hop right back in. Elements: minuscule guitar solos, drum fills, noise, Davidson’s snarls – jump outta their breathless rants and then hop right back on like they never existed, just as “the bottom of your stomach comes to the top” (an observation from the title track). These guys are so secure in knowing what they’re doin’, they’re unafraid to slow stuff down and make me better appreciate the Black Crowes (see “Bolan’s Crash” and “Raw Law”). Oddly enough, even that sounds good! Whatever guidance Tom Shannon gave ’em paid off, cuz they’re definitely doin’ somethin’ right.
(2798 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026)