Spine of God (SPV)
by Brian Varney
Released in tandem with an equally pointless reissue of sophomore release 25 Tab is this reissue of Monster Magnet‘s debut, Spine of God. Bonus features in excess of the still-in-print Caroline version include altered artwork (in this case, detrimentally so), a bonus track that’s available elsewhere if you’re bootleg savvy, and a remastering treatment that makes no audible difference.
But, again, having said that, Spine of God is one of the finest psychedelic albums of its era, and eminently worthy of your money, regardless of which version you own. More song-based than 25 Tab, Spine of God is the perfect synthesis of Nuggets-style psych and Blue Cheer-style retard rock. Though I thoroughly enjoy what Monster Magnet later became, Spine of God is a one-of-a-kind recording, and probably the single best thing the band ever did.
The fact that the record bears the legend “It’s a Satanic drug thing…
You wouldn’t understand” on the inside cover and begins with a heavily flanged drumbeat is proof positive that you cannot accuse the band of misleading you. Even at its most furiously hard-rocking (“Medicine,” “Snake Dance”), the album maintains an air of druggy wooziness that extends a welcome to burnouts and psych freaks, who’ll be more thoroughly entranced by flashback-inducing tunes such as “Nod Scene” or the title track, both of which veer closer to the mind-warping terrain occupied by 25 Tab.
What Spine of God does, then, is to provide a cultural soundtrack for folks who lived and continue to live for ’60s biker flicks, beat-up Grand Funk Railroad LPs (“Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother” is lovingly covered here), Quaaludes, Scum of the Earth compilations, and Russ Meyer movies.