The Goondas wear their garage rock aspirations on their sleeve and deliver one hell of a rocker with their latest album, Dog Show.
Starting with the title track, which opens with an uptempo drum beat and a guitar lick that sounds like it was written in the Delta, the album keeps building steam. Transitioning directly from its bluesy opening to the hard-charging “Autorotica," singer Brendan Green howls out his best Iggy impression (And it’s a good one) amid grungy but upbeat guitar and some inspired drumming.
Dog Show is a vicious and lean piece of garage rock, keeping everything under four minutes and never straying from the band's barebones sonic attack. Songs like “Be Gone” recall the straightforward frustrated aggression of bands like the Oblivians, while bluesier efforts — like the smoldering, depressed “Let It Rain” — feel lifted from a dive bar in Louisiana.
The band sounds like a dog straining at the end of a leash, tight and barely contained at the same time. The guitars threaten to lose themselves in waves of fuzz but always manage to rein it in just at the brink. That same recklessness is felt in every word Green howls, spits and curses throughout the 11-track affair.
While the couple of slower songs on Dog Show don’t resonate as much as the pedal-down approaches that are the mainstay, there aren’t really any duds here. If straightforward garage rock isn’t your thing, the album may sound a bit simplistic at times, but that’s part of the appeal.
The Goondas have put out one of the most passionate odes to garage rock of the year with Dog Show, an album that is all sweat, energy and aggression. It’s raw without feeling unfinished, ragged in all the right places, and just plain fun. If you’re looking for no frills rock and roll, you can’t do much better.
John Grimley writes the Oil Slick garage-rock blog for GuitarWorld.com.