LIVE - The Hydromatics (Pitshark)
If you're going to go out, leave a good looking (or sounding) corpse, and this posthumous release by the trans-Atlantic (read: American and European) Dee-troit mini supergroup fulfills that need, in a brutally elegant way.
Unless you're a stranger to these parts, you'll scarcely need an introduction to the personnel involved. That is, with the exception of bassist Laurent Ciron, the ex-Dogs member who replaced Theo Brouwer for the Hydromatics' 2003, and ultimately last, Euro tour. Laurent came into the ranks at the last moment, via an Internet Help Wanted ad placed by yours truly, so there's a personal kick to see this platter finally in print. But onto the music.
It's a vinyl-only, 10-inch release with eight tunes crammed onto a slab of black plastic that struggles to contain the raw energy contained within. The Hydromatics might have been largely a vehicle to bring the songs of Sonic's Rendezvous Band out of the darkness, but the Scott Morgan-penned newies ring with the same vitality. "Earthy" goes head-to-head with "R.I.P. R n R" and it finishes an honorable draw.
If you're going to play high-energy music there's scarcely a better-qualified guitarist on the Continent than Tony Slug to sign up. (Having him babysit your teenage daughter might be another matter). He and Scott Morgan rip into these eight songs like there's no tomorrow (and before you state the obvious, there actually was for a long while, with a handful of recordings stretching back to the band's beginnings in '99). Original sticksman Nicke Royale does the honours behind the traps on "Dangerous" while the balance of the drumming is down to Michigan powerhouse Andy Frost.
The Hydromatics' second studio album, the sadly out-of-print and impossible to find "Powerglide" (blame the fly-by-night label), remains a criminally under-heard release. One of its best cuts, "Tumblin' Down", makes it hear and even without the horns-and-backing-vox embellishments it still leaves a majestic impression.
So, yeah, it's over for the Hydros and more's the pity more people didn't get to see 'em. This mighty platter makes some amends for fate's failing on that count. It's a strictly limited edition, so don't dally, OK? - The Barman