August 17, 2013

Hot Lunch, "Hot Lunch"

A wise man1 once said that you're never a bigger fan of music than when you were 15. And how true is that. I look at the stuff I was digging when I was a nerdy skater kid with no car and no girlfriend, and it's all loud prog, charged heavy blues, and sexually weird rock. And I still love all of that music. No matter how much I go on and on about the beauty of Gal Costa's voice, the delicate skittishness of Glenn Gould or Thelonious Monk, or the depth of Zorn's string trio arrangements, there will always be that burning core inside me that craves some serious fun-time head-banging shit about spaceships and Welsh myth. And yes, I crave it often. So here's one tasty meal: Hot Lunch, a remarkably talented band that's equally adept at laying down the big stupid arena-ready stuff as navigating intricate prog mindspaces. The Lunch has all the right moves -- giant pentatonic riffs, pummeling drums, fuzzy bass, speaker-shredding blues leads, throat-shredding vocals. The whole record is a steamroller. It throws you into a purely juvenile state of joy (which is kind of funny considering the median age of the band members is somewhere around 40). Close your eyes and you can see the plywood launch ramp in the driveway. It's Doritos and a Coke, but with a side of tequila. Or, I guess, absinthe -- right smack in the middle of the album is a cover of "Knife Edge" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, followed by a mushrooms-and-crystals tale about "The Lady of the Lake." Punks do prog? Why the hell not! Don't think too much.

1Bob Lefsetz, whose wisdom is, for many, debatable.