Ribeye Brothers – New Ways to Fail

January 01, 1970

(This Is You)




Jersey’s Ribeye Brothers list on their MySpace page, among
their myriad influences, Link Wray, the Scientists,  Thee Mighty Caesars, 13th Floor
Elevators and ‘60s garage rock compilations series like Teenage Shutdown, Pebbles and Back
From the Grave
. In one sense, that’s all you need to know about the band
(aside, perhaps, from the fact that in the lineup are some Monster Magnet
alumni, which just serves to reinforce the quartet’s miscreant status). As with
other similarly-provoked outfits over the years, however, just because you know
what’s in their record collections doesn’t mean you know what to expect from ‘em, and the Ribeyes, now on
Elpee #3, have never been ones for protracted genuflection.


Sure, the stylings themselves here are frequently as
familiar as a bearhug from an old chum: the Farfisa-and-reverb powered
surf-garage of “Cup of Coffee and a Piece of Pie”; the jangly, Creation/Byrds
psych-pop of “Crashing the Ambulance”; the revved-up, Hickoids-meet-Gun Club
cowpunk of “Godless Mule” (love that songtitle); etc. But with whiskey-throated
vocalist Tim Cronin leading the fray and guitarist Jon Kleiman unveiling more
switchblade ‘n’ fuzztone riffs than a barrelful of Nuggets anthologies, the band adeptly shifts gears at will to keep
listeners on their toes.


That’s clear right from the get-go, on “What Makes You
Tick,” a throbbing slice of malevolence that tries hard to be a no-frills garage
number but keeps turning, against its better instincts, into The Who’s “My
Generation,” right down to the Entwistleian bassline and psychotic vox (“Your
attitude is/ Driving me to drink/ Tick-tick-tick, I’m losing my mind…”). And
then there’s closing track “Letters to Penthouse“:
amid a swirling vortex that pits improbably backwards guitars and keys against
a more straightforward rhythm section
churn, Cronin moans and grunts, not all that sunnily, “I wanna live in a letter
to Penthouse/ ‘I never thought/ It
would happen/ To me’.” Stick around after that tune has played, too, or you’ll
miss the title song – perverse bastards that the Ribeye Brothers are, it’s an
unlisted hidden track. Factor in enough liberal deployment of ancillary
instrumentation (a wiggy blues harp here; in-your-face tambourine there) to
keep all eight cylinders firing, and you’ve got a meaty (sorry) musical buffet
that’ll leave you begging for extra helpings.


These Ribeyes, boy, they’s sizzling.


Standout Tracks: “Godless
Mule,” “It Ain’t Right,” “Letters to Penthouse” FRED MILLS




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