The dogged, bluesy, sawdust-joint stomp-rock of Brooklyn-based the Naked Heroes is the creation of husband and wife duo George Michael Jackson and Merica Lee. Chock-full of head-knocking, raucous guitar riffs; sweaty, fist-in-the-air percussion; call-and-response cues akin to AC/DC and ZZ Top, and clocking in at roughly 28 minutes in length, the Heroes’ debut album, 99 Diamond, welds the gas pedal to the floor. The blistering opening title track finds the pair paying homage to their Greenpoint roots as Lee pounds away at her drum kit with an unhinged ferocity that underpins Jackson’s dirty, blues-laden, guitar-slinging and his howling, Nugent-like vocal delivery. “Sheila”, one of the album’s lead-off singles, showcases the Heroes’ fierce, smash-and-grab approach to hard-edged 21st century-style boogie-woogie. The stringent, blues-driven arrangements on “Foxy Moxy” and “Sophisticated Meat Machine” seem like a blatant nod to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, while “Black Dress” plays like a revamped version of the 1977 classic “Cat Scratch Fever”. Album closer “The Goonhand” is a cymbal-crashing, neo-blues rock barn-burner reminiscent of the Black Keys’ “Busted”. While the album’s length is brief and leaves us wanting more, the Naked Heroes’ 99 Diamond is nothing short of confident, pure, unabashed rock and roll at its finest.
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// Notes from the Road
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