Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hydromatics - Powerglide

The Hydromatics second full length album "Powerglide" came out in CD form on the Italian Freakshow label, a small company that conveniently went AWOL shortly afterwards and hasn't been heard of since. They did however license the vinyl LP version to Cargo Germany, without notifying the band or paying the band their part of the license fee, as agreed on before, and stipulated in the contract.
The Cargo LP doesn't mention any songwriting credits or publishing information anywhere, making this a bit of a dubious release. In my book it's a bootleg. Since there was no contract between Cargo and the band, the label wasn't about to give us any royalties either.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.
- Hunter S. Thompson

Hydromatics on Wikipedia
Scott Morgan talks about Hydro on I-94bar

I-94 BAR

POWERGLIDE - The Hydromatics (Freak Show)
There was a time when it appeared the Hydromatics might just be headed down to Australia, as support to the Hellacopters. More's the pity it didn't come off (a requirement for a local act to fill the support spot, and the need to save dollars to offset the then ridiculously high $40 ticket price, gave the nod to The Monarchs.) Until it happens, however, this album will have to do.

It's the second CD for the Hydros, the searing trans-Atlantic collision of Midwest legend Scott Morgan (The Rationals, Scott Morgan Band and Sonic's Rendezvous Band) and Dutchmen Theo Brouwer and Tony Slug (the latter two from Loveslug and the Nitwitz.) Hellacopters guitarist Nicke Royale was behind the traps on the first album, "Parts Unknown", but makes way for young Michigan skinsman Andrew Frost on this one. And it's a certified, solid gold, no filler, killer.

From the bruising opener, "Ready to Ball", you know this is going to hit you between the eyes. While any other band might be accused of trading on the past by including half a dozen Sonic's Rendezvous Band covers among the 14 tracks that grace this disc (I know you're out there Freddie!), this band does them so god damn well that such criticism is rendered redundant.

Where the Hydros manage to surprise is by mixing up the remaining seven tunes with liberal lashings of horns, chick vocals and SOUL (bucketloads of it.) I suppose that's not so much of a surprise, considering Scott Morgan's background (The Rationals' cover of "Respect" remaining the definitive one, in this book.) His remains one of rock's most soulful voices.

There's an "Exile" era, Stones feel to "Tumbling Down" and "Soulbone" that makes them runaway winners, while "Hustlin'" stands up with some of Morgan's best solo band stuff. (If you don't believe me, check out the startlingly good retrospective collection "Medium Rare" on Real O-Mind.) The mystery cut, "Starvin'", could well be a latter-day Rationals outtake.

The guitars sting and the engine room cooks. Frost might lack some of his predecessor's manic fills but is rock solid and every bit as powerful. Tony Slug's production gives ample space to the guitars, even if Morgan's vocals are a little back in parts of the mix.

What else do you need to know? Go and buy it. - The Barman

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony,
    Great release. Was even planning on buying the LP, but after your little story I'm not gonna pay those fucking Germans for stealing your royalties. Keep rockin'