Here Comes Death (Royalty)
by Jon Sarre
They don’t do nothin’ halfway in Texas – bigger’n’bigger and run it ’til it flat-out dies, even if it sucks. Speedealer (formerly REO Speedealer and ya probably already know the story, but what I wanna know and I don’t think this has ever been addressed is that the original REO Speedwagon was a car produced in the Teens or Twenties by the Ransom E. Oldes company. Oldes, having sold the corporation he’d previously founded, Oldesmobile, to GM, got bored and started a new company, but was forbidden by copyright laws from using “Oldesmobile” or his own name – the more things change, huh?, so he named it “REO.” Now how come his estate didn’t sue REO Speedwagon, cuz it’s not like those schleps came up with the damn name in the first place?) is from Texas, pure Texas, Dallas even. What they’ve done is gone and retooled hardcore with their hellbent growlin’, brought back the old tyme polka tempos, and added greasemonkey death metal so Slayer fans won’t feel left out.
In a nod to today’s sound, they’ve thrown in the odd hip-hop moment (see “Absinthe”). Best of all, they didn’t bother askin’ anyone if hardcore really needed a new coat of paint, or to pose the question a different way, is there much more one can do betwixt the opposite parameters of “rumble arrghhh respect yourself and yer crew urrgghh, arrrggghh” hip-hop fusion thang of today and the “thumpa thumpa” play the same half of an old Ramones riff really fast and really ineptly punkrock of hardcore’s early ’80s origins? No, not really, but that ain’t the point, as Speedealer would probably insist, most likely accompanied by a volley of threats to “rip-off yer head and stuff it down the toilet” (as the guy from Gwar once vowed to do to me, but he musta forgot he didn’t have his paper mache suit on, and that shit’s just messy playactin’ anyhow). The real deal is that loud, fast’n’aggro music is always gonna have a place (as long as teen misfits are gonna feel a need to beat each other up) for no other reason than the previous parenthetical aside. Speedealer is all about that, no shit. I woulda thought these guys were incredible had I heard ’em at fourteen. Now, I’m about double that age, and as my tastes change, my favorite track is the last one, the 7:10 “California Tumbles into the Sea,” a dirgy rumble of guitar noise and plingin’ note-by-note xylophone. Sounds like the soundtrack to a bad art film.
(176 Madison Ave. 4th Fl. New York, NY 10016)