Black Pussy
Magic Mustache

Portland, Oregon is notorious for great riff/doom/stoner/whatever ya wanna call it bands.  I’m not going to make you a list of cool stuff from the region I’ve been turned onto because the task would take up the entirety of this write-up.  Also, I’m not going to discuss the origin of Black Pussy’s name because every other review and PR wire has already done that.  Word of mouth is that these guys were beamed down from the cosmos to save stoner rock.  To be fair, there’s some okay stuff here, but after a few listens it all sounds a little tired.  Monster Magnet is back at the top of their game doing this stuff, Farflung never seems to get enough attention, Operator Generator’s Polar Fleet will give you more than everything you need, there’s a lifetime of Hawkwind to listen to and sludge masters Negative Reaction took the seed of feral hardcore and transplanted it into a pot of Sabbath-y space rock soil.  Hell, how much stuff is overlooked on Man’s Ruin and Smallstone (Freedom Hawk anyone?) in general?  Tummler is a name that frequently comes to mind.  The genre hardly needs saving.  It’s been saved ten times over.

Now that I sound like a cocksucker, Black Pussy’s Magic Mustache makes some good moves, it’s just that the band doesn’t seem to stray much from what’s already done.  Additionally, their riffs n’ compositions don’t just simply feel inspired or borrowed, no sir, unfortunately they sound straight out of other bands.  “Let’s Start a War” begins with a drone taped from a space command center in the heart of mission control…it’s Hawkwind to a fault before moving into a non-threatening, high-octane riff.  Sorry folks, something like Operator Generator who teleported in during the heart of the second stoner-rock wave still had battle-hardened instrumentation and grooves hotter than Vesuvius at high noon, but this just bounces along in a repetitive hypnotic cycle that’s neither good nor bad instrumentally.  All of the staples are present here; wah-drenched guitars, trippy FX, deep rhythms and the like, so it’s not a problem of ingredients.  My problem is the playing/writing feels monotone, and those vocals ain’t just slacker style, they seriously have zilcho identity.  The vocals are too sleepy for their own good to keep the listener awake at the control panel, which could equate to accidentally remapping the coordinates into a crash course with a nearby planet.

A little barroom piano/keys tap away lightly in the background of a mid-tempo riff groove and suave wah-solos in the standard fare rocker, “Into your Cosmic.”  It’s not offensive to the senses or anything, and listenable enough, though the X factor I look for in modern stoner-psych rock isn’t anywhere in the vicinity.  While stoner rock isn’t known for a pantheon of vocal heroes, there are plenty of bands with more unique narration than this.  In fact, the intro vocals of “Proto-pipe” are downright annoying (and they come back for seconds); off key to a fault.  Thankfully, the instrumental portion of this track has a harder, heavier set of riffs with keys that really whip up a 60s, beatnik flair to the proceedings.  It’s definitely better than the preceding twosome of tunes.  Some hot blues licks in the track’s second half really push the boogie into overdrive, and when the keys kick back in the band has stumbled on the perfect mixture of their influences.

Sadly, the Milky Way sweetness doesn’t last for long and “Happy” trips over a rockin’ yet sterile riff that only makes the grade because those synth sounds that cover its six are more intoxicating than a bottle of pure wormwood.  Che and Self-Titled era Queens of the Stone Age are aped from liberally on the poppy machinations of “For the Sake of Argument.”  The trouble is the hook’s been used better elsewhere.  Again though, those keys provide enough of a boost for a passing C- grade.  My personal interpretation is that Homme and crew knew when to press stop while recording…”If Only” didn’t need to go over 5 minutes to be a great song, and this thing keeps chuggin’ along far after you’ve had enough.

The well-textured “On Top of the World” is a tune where I feel like everything the band is capable of comes together; riffs are laid-back, but hard enough to make an impact, the vocals catch the passion by the tail, the rhythm section maintains a steady backbone and the length is perfect.  It’s not a complex piece by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it need to be…simply put, this song is a nice slice of stoner rock that seems to reach the heights Black Pussy are aiming for without trying to pack too much in, therefore boredom is eliminated from the calculations.  The remaining tracks don’t do much to mess with the established formula, tilting between moments of riff-y greatness and long stretches where the tempo never hits a much needed switch (“Butterfly’s” late game burst the exception).

These guys are on cruise all the way, which isn’t a bad thing if you’ve got the riffs n’ psychedelia on hand to conjure up some atmosphere…unfortunately Magic Mustache lacks the creativity and writing to take it the distance.  You’re hoping to blast-off to Saturn but you don’t seem to get much farther than the moon.  This isn’t a terrible record.  I just don’t find it as exciting or as interesting as it should be, and I think A LOT of bands have done this style better (and some still are currently!).  You might very well disagree with me, and that’s fine!  Give it a listen and tell us what you think.  As for me, I think I’ll kindly pass on this rocket and wait for the next interplanetary shuttle to swing by.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
March 30th, 2015

Comments

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. Your post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and maybe held up for further approval. We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Scissorfight - Doomus Abruptus, Vol. 1
  • Viogression - Perception Blur
  • Ad Vitam Infernal - Infernal Comedy
  • Fluisteraars - Bloem
  • Cianide - Unhumanized EP
  • Abhomine - Proselyte Parasite Plague
  • Porta Nigra - Schöpfungswut
  • Abigail WIlliams - Walk Beyond the Dark
  • Suicide Silence - Become the Hunter
  • Annihilator - Ballistic, Sadistic
  • Hell:On/Pripjat - A Glimpse Beyond (Split)
  • Silvertomb - Edge of Existence
  • Necropanther - The Doomed City
  • Lorna Shore - Immortal
  • Ian Blurton Future Now - Signals Through the Flames