I picked this one up on the strength of Jeff Clark's review
in Stomp and Stammer (which has been deleted from their online
archives, so I can't really link to it.) I generally mesh well
with Clark's tastes, so when he gives something the double thumbs-up
whammy, I'll take a chance on it. With that said, I think he
overstated the case for The BellRays just a bit much. They're
an LA band doing metal-flavored Detroit rock funk in the west
coast club circuit, from what I can tell, which is all cool
and stuff, if you're into it. It's just, I hate LA, and I can't
listen to this record without thinking "Can they try to be more
rootsy without having any roots?" I also, inevitably, have the
following mental exchange with myself any time I play Grand
Malimus: "Is it possible for a black woman from Detroit
to try too hard to be full of soul?"
Malimus: "I don't know, but this chick (Lisa Kekaula) is the
person to do that, if it is possible."
Malimus: "And regardless, even if she isn't trying too hard,
even is she really is just chock to the brim with Aretha-by-way-of-Slade
goodness, it doesn't give pardon to the rest of the band. Two
white guys and an Asian-American drummer from LA don't get to
play around at being bluster rockers with the MC5."
Malimus: "And the white guys call themselves 'Tony Fate'and
'Bob Vennum' on top of it all."
Malimus: "Oh yeah. That's reason enough to detain them indefinitely,
now that you mention it. I get the feeling these guys were playing
LA Gunns covers this time in 1991. Want a tuna melt?"
Malimus: "Mmmmmm, tuna melt."
So, there you go, the inner workings of my mind laid bare.
Grand Fury has a certain vibe to it, once you
get past all of the overtones and all of the trying-too-hard-to-keep-it-real-ness,
but doing that isn't as easy as it should be. They Glued
Your Head On Upside-Down is a pretty good tune, though.