Album Reviews

Left Lane Cruiser

Beck in Black

Artist:     Left Lane Cruiser

Album:     Beck in Black

Label:     Alive Natural Sound Records

Release Date:     07/08/2016


“Don’t ever wash me” should be plainly written in the caked dirt plastered to the gutbucket punk-blues wagon Left Lane Cruiser and never erased.

Slinging hot plates of greasy, loud and nasty garage-rock, Beck in Black is a 14-song junkyard of early tracks handpicked by former drummer Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck for a remastering job that feels more like a tune-up than a massive engine overhaul. Instead of a good, clean scrubbing, these recordings get amplified, as Left Lane Cruiser’s raw, heavy-metal thunder booms throughout the sludgy blues of “Bloodhound” and “Zombie Blocked,” the wildly explosive “Amy’s in the Kitchen,” and an especially filthy and powerful “Heavy” that roars to life blowing black smoke from its tailpipe.

Six previously unreleased songs are stuffed into a collection originally released for Record Store Day as an exclusive metallic gold vinyl pressing. But, Beck in Black doesn’t need such fancy window dressing. Not with guitarist and vocalist Freddy J IV exercising his God-given right to fire off blasts of wicked, distorted riffs at will – as he does in a bruising “Chevrolet” – and indulge in slide-guitar mayhem, like that of “Circus,” a freewheeling party as raucous as any thrown by the Faces.

Reviving Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher” as a slow-burning cautionary tale, Freddy J IV preaches from the pulpit with righteous fervor, and the breakup story “Maybe,” with its swampy organ, really gets down to the nitty-gritty. So does the sparse, bluesy joint “Sausage Paw,” where Tom Waits wouldn’t mind sleeping it off, even if the place is as hillbilly as all get out, just like Left Lane Cruiser.

– Peter Lindblad

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