Bass Drum of Death

Bass Drum of Death

John Barrett returns with his second full length for LA label Innovative Leisure as Bass Drum of Death. Elevating Bass Drum of Death from the scrapheap of garage rock challengers fighting for attention, Rip This is BDoD’s most impressive record yet, combining the best elements of the American rock underground with a raw approach that’s original and exciting.

Bass Drum of Death’s appeal has always transcended the band’s roots in the local Oxford, Mississippi touring circuit where John Barrett first cut his teeth. Since his debut 7-inch on Fat Possum back in 2008, he’s realised this potential again and again, most notably with his genre-bending collaboration with Odd Future’s Mellowhype and a slot on the infamous Vinewood Boulevard radio station on the GTA V videogame. But it’s with Rip This that Barrett has really hit his stride.

The process has been markedly different throughout. For previous albums Bass Drumof Death (Innovative Leisure, 2013) and GB City (Inflated Records, 2011), Barrett wrote all the material himself at home and recorded it on a basic GarageBand setup. This time around, he enlisted drummer Len Clark as a fulltime member and collaborator and UMO bassist Jacob Portrait as producer. Over a two-week stint at Prairie Sun Studios in Sonoma County, California the trio created the first BDoD studio album. The impact of the expanded and energetic creative team on the Bass Drum of Death blueprint is immediately obvious.

Clark’s towering percussion gives the LP its relentless sense of momentum. The backbeat that opens ‘For Blood’ explodes against the rising dynamics and heavy force of Barrett’s fierce guitar work. “I’m coming round and I’m out for blood,” Barrett seethes on top of a Cramps-style one-note piano riff. Opener ‘Electric’ recalls Jay Reatard’s whine but pits it against the hard rock riffage of Queens of the Stone Age, while ‘Left For Dead’ show BDoD’s weirder side, with guitars that squeal and burn furiously.

John Barrett is still at the core of Bass Drum of Death but with an expanded lineup, he’s made the band’s sound deeper and heavier, while retaining the sneering attitude and incendiary tone that made Bass Drum of Death such a standout rock release. All told, you’re unlikely to hear many records this year that rip like this.

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