Ahab Rex - Rollin' With the Ahab Rex
By Marcus Pan
"File Under: A" Cute, guys, real cute. As interesting as
possible, Ahab Rex shred any sensibilities of what hard and heavy riff music
should be. With as much garage and punk lacings as your average tanker boot,
their Rollin' With the Ahab Rex Quintet 2004 release is about as
refreshing as a Yoohoo up the nostrils. Sure to knock some sense into the
standard fare of the radio playlists.
Harmony is secondary to the message of Ahab Rex. With the
off kilter riffwork apparent on Dummy, opening this disc with more
attitude than a teeny bopper on crack, Rollin' goes headlong into
unusual territory. Featuring Ahab Rex himself on bass and vocals along with a
large assortment of partners in crime and such eclectic instruments as viola,
bass clarinet and good old fashioned catwalk stand up bass. Rex has also
guested on Emulsion's Death of the Author(1) and shows excellent prowess
with his musical accoutrements which include influences from jazz jam to
industrial, heavy metal to punk to even your occasional rockabilly styles. Is
that a bit of Tool influence slinking into Undertow No. 5 for example?
At least up until the tinkering piano comes in to break up the pizzazz and
break things up, anyway.
Of bands Legends has reviewed recently, Ex Models(2) and
Alice Donut(3) come to mind first off. The grudging, dragging nature of
Vertigo sulks through vividly, what with the steel covered vocals and
female "la la"s. The grungy Plastic People is one of my favorites on the
album with its fast paced rhythm, speedy guitar and throaty vocals. Another
favorite is To Whom it May Concern, which reminds me of the old Detachable
Penis tune that made headway in some radio markets that many should
remember. Scratchy guitar and funky jazz bass (stand up?) combines with Ahab's
deep seated lyrical chants to create a truly original sound.
This is followed up by another chatty-style dirge, Dope
Sick. This one reminds me of the bars that My Wife is An Axe
Murderer's main character hung out in, complete with bass clarinet provided
by Dug Abram. Rollin With the Ahab Rex Quintet closes with a Cure cover,
Cold, which originally appeared on the tribute compilation Strange as
Angels: A Tribute to the Cure from FTP Records. Ahab performs Cold
with a dirty gritty sound and atmosphere and with the quirky guitar streaks
creates a stunningly fine rendition.
Ahab Rex and his crew put out one really good disc. It's
groovy, heavy, funky and lets the player's talents show through without trying
to polish something that's better rough. While it's an acquired taste, it
shouldn't take long for any music aficionado in search of interesting music to
Post: 636 W. Diversey #120, Chicago, IL, 60614, USA
(1) Reviewed in
Reviewed in Legends
(3) Reviewed in Legends #143.