…the Riverboat Gamblers’ new EP, Smash/Grab, would have Bon Scott’s.
Released on July 12th by Paper + Plastick the EP is a raw, muddy mix of the early, gasoline-infused Gamblers (particularly Something To Crow About – era Gamblers) and a bit of the cleaner, more polished style evident on 2009’s Underneath The Owl. The two styles of Gamblers had different musicians; the current lineup welds the best of both together: with a dose of The Hellacopters and Skeemin’ NoGoods. (Maybe even some Dead Kennedys thrown in for good measure).
Songs by the Skeemin NoGoods, particularly “Punch The Clock”take no prisoners. The Gamblers EP’s opener “The Ol’ Smash and Grab” is no different. Pushed along by a driving drum track, the song grabs you by the collar—never lets go—and sends the record off at top speed, giving you no chance to take one last look at the world behind you. Then again, maybe you don’t want to look back.
The lyrics imply a criticism of the state of the world with its voracious appetite for the latest and greatest, without care for who or what gets in the way in pursuit of such things. The second track, “Parasite Friends” has the brightest-sounding guitars out of the four songs on the EP and could have landed on the band’s last full-length release, Underneath The Owl. Yet it has enough of the less polished sound to fit right in with the tracks on this EP.
Provided my dear old brain isn’t getting tricksy with me (a more frequent occurrence these days), the third song “Maggie Lea” has surfy Dead Kennedys-esque guitar lines…especially around the 0:47 and 1:18 marks. I do enjoy the surf sound of this song. The OCD part of me is still trying to figure out which Dead Kennedys song I’m hearing but there are so many.
(On a sorta-kinda-but-not-really-all-that-related note, have you seen McSweeney’s OCD Valentines? They’re classics! Such as this one: “Roses are red, violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, and I think I left the iron on.”)
The fourth and last track on the EP “Anything But You” is a full minute of fury, the fuzziest on the EP. Its frantic energy would easily find a home on an early Riverboat Gamblers album: either their 2001 self-titled or 2003’s Something To Crow About.
After repeated listens I still have no idea what the lyrics are except “whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh” and perhaps I got even those words wrong. Forget your coffee in the morning? Play this once and you’ll be set.
If you’re curious about the EP it’s still up and streaming here although the tracks are reversed from the actual order on the EP. (No worries though they sound great forwards and backwards.) If this EP is a preview of what’s to come out of the Riverboat Gamblers down the road, I’m going to be like an excited kid waiting for Santa Claus to deliver the goods as we all wait for a full-length album from these guys.
Dear Santa: Let there be rock.