Devil Child Blues (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney
It’s been five years since the last Red Giant album, Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound. Considering that album’s super-trippy, early-Monster Magnet sound, you wouldn’t be off-base assuming the band members spent this time scrambling their brains with psychedelic drugs and writing a science-fiction concept record about intergalactic beings who convene at Stonehenge and dance madly while playing flutes. However, as is so often the case, the truth is quite different.
If anything, it sounds like the members (the same three guys who made that album are still in the band, though there’s now a fourth member) spent the time going to the gym and listening to classic rock records, because Devil Child Blues is a ferociously muscular blues-based hard rock sledgehammer. As a disappointed acidhead murmured to me outside of a rock club where a bloody fistfight erupted during the album’s title track, “It’s more ‘Space Truckin” than Space Ritual.”
I suppose the fact that Red Giant has become more of a heavy rock band in the vein of Deliverance-era C.O.C. may be a disappointment for some, especially those who feel that hard rock is beneath them, or, my personal favorite, those who dismiss anything that even halfway resembles classic rock as “cliché-riddled,” conveniently ignorning the fact that the space/avant/noise/whatever-fancy-shmancy-subgenre-of rock that they support is just as likely to be boring or predictable. The elemental truth is that Red Giant does this type of music really well, better even than they did the space-rock thing. The only real misstep is the cover of the Stooges’ “Fun House,” which I knew was a bad idea before even playing the album, because covering the Stooges is always a bad idea. I hear Red Giant can play an entire set of Stooges covers, and while I suppose this shows that the band’s heart is in the right place, it doesn’t make covering Stooges songs any less of a bad idea.