by Brian Varney
Four long-haired lager louts clutching musical instruments stumble out of a cider farm in the middle of the English countryside where they’ve been locked up for a decade or so with only Nirvana and Black Sabbath albums to keep them company. Having had nothing to do for the past ten years other than drink, practice a whole hell of a lot, and write songs informed by the two bands whose records they’ve had no choice but to play thousands of times when drunk, they decide to form a band once they’ve had a chance to adapt to real life again.
If such a scenario were to happen, the band would be Gonga. The Nirvana influence is definitely the lesser of the two, but it nevertheless must be mentioned since it’s a vital element of the band’s sound, especially in Joe Volk’s Cobain-like vocals and the melodic acoustic passages that appear infrequently. Most of the band’s métier involves the heaviness that caused me to mention Black Sabbath. Truth be told, there’s a lot more psychedelia floating around in Gonga’s sound than Sabbath ever had, but I figure that’s just a result of the delirium tremens that arise from having only cider for nourishment for such a long period of time. In any case, it’s heavy and blues-based in a way that Black Sabbath practically invented, and it’s also apparently so loud that there’s distortion on the master tape itself in a couple of instances. Anyone who’s a fan of early Sabbath, particularly the debut, will be very pleased with this debut.