The Upshot: With no compromises to time or maturity, Gas sounds like the follow-up to 1989 masterpiece Shovel.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
When Australia’s legendary feedtime reunited for a tour in celebration of the 2012 box set The Aberrant Years, fans of the trio’s distinctive anger blues skronk could only hope that it meant new music was forthcoming. And sure enough: following 2015’s “Flatiron/Stick Up Jack” single (neither side of which appears here), the Sydney threesome has indeed come together to spit up another collection of bile-soaked, scree-encrusted nuggets of grime.
The band’s first album since 1996 and its first with the original Rick-Al-Tom lineup since (cough) 1989, Gas picks up from where it left in the ‘80s as if twenty-eight years haven’t passed. Rick (Johnson) still slashes the six strings of his hapless guitar like a butcher; when he brandishes his beat-to-shit bottleneck, his axe gets downright filthy. Bassist Al(len Larkin) and drummer Tom (Sturm) keep perfect time while still managing to sound more like they’re beating a mugger than supporting Rick’s guitar wrangling. Rick and Al rant and holler over their instrumental overload like the bitter middle-aged men that they are – no mellowing with age here. “The grass is greener on the other side/That’s because of all the shit that’s there,” the band asserts on the grinding “Grass,” and no better example exists of the feedtime attitude.
“Fifty Eight,” “Thought” and “Skilled Enuf” (“to play one chord”) work the band’s patented minimalist but brutal groove to excellent effect, giving no quarter nor asking for it. Just to keep the discomfort roiling, the opening “Any Good Thing” and closing “Shovelhead” add steroid-amped growling that verges on death metal. The threesome waxes tender, sort of, on “You Don’t Mind,” “Sister” and the up-by-the bootstraps “Keep Goin,” but that doesn’t meant they’re easy listening – the feedtime sound remains intact even during less rage-filled moments.
With no compromises to time or maturity, Gas sounds like the follow-up to 1989 masterpiece Shovel. Unlike a lot of bands for whom decades have passed, feedtime rocks as fiercely, bitterly and just plain hard as it did in its heyday. (Consumer note: The album is available on colored vinyl, download included, should you opt for the cooler format.)
DOWNLOAD: “Grass,” “Fifty Eight,” “You Don’t Mind”
Go HERE to read our recent feature on feedtime.