Holy shit. This has got to be one of the best rock and roll albums I've ever heard in my entire life by anyone, anywhere. Again I ask, why is radio so unfair? Stop ignoring the fantastic bands such as Those Peabodys whom no one ever gets to hear outside the local venues! I feel very, very lucky for getting to review this album. This is one that's going to get played in my stereo a million zillion times.
I was talking to a friend online when I received the album. I told her that I finally got my PopMatters discs for review and that I was putting in this one by a band called "Those Peabodys". Well, all it took was the first track "Plum Parts" and my mouth was agape, causing me to look like a five year old kid during his first visit to Disney World. All I could keep saying to my friend was "My God, what riffage!" And that's what you get with this brilliant album: lots of riffs, tight as hell performances, and one superb mix throughout.
Austin, Texas is the home of Those Peabodys, who on the album are represented by Clarke Wilson (vocals and bass) and Adam Hatley (guitar and vocals). Before setting out to record this disc, Wilson and Hatley found themselves in a bit of a bind when their other guitarist Kiki Solis decided to quit and go play with his other band, Rhythm of Black Lines. On top of that, the band had recently decided to replace drummer Scott Schoppert. So minus two essential members, Wilson and Hatley went for broke and recorded the album as a duo, with Hatley taking over drumming and second guitar duties. And let me tell you something: it still sounds like a four-piece combo. I don't know how good a drummer Schoppert was, but Hatley can pound a kit with so much style and skill that you'll be amazed when you hear it, too.
And the guitars. Man, I don't even know where to begin on this baby. So many hooky riffs and balls to the wall playing goes down here. These boys are in a league with AC/DC and Zeppelin as far as the guitars go, but honestly they're in a ball park all their own, and that's exactly what makes them great. It is so fantastic to hear an honest to God rock band come out and kick some shit around like Those Peabodys. This isn't your MTV version of "rock". It's not your overwrought head banging/garbled voice doo-doo. This is rock and roll as it was meant to be. Thundering drums, vicious slick bass, twin crystalline guitars, and Wilson's singing that punches the whole production right up front and in your face.
My favorite cuts are "Frank", which sounds like the Pixies meet the Violent Femmes and "Hazzard Co." (Hey, any tune about the Duke boys has to be cool, right? Right!). Take my word for it, this is one album you have to own if you are a true fan of rock music. I can't stop playing the damn thing myself, and I really don't want to either.
Since the recording of this album, Wilson and Hatley have found two new members to join Those Peabodys. In Solis and Schoppert's place is Aaron Franklin (ex-Memory Model) on drums and ex-Ultimate Dragons guitarist J.D. Cronise. I'd love to hear the guys play in this new lineup. They invited me to come see their show this weekend, but unfortunately for me, Austin is far away. No matter. I still have this great album to listen to and sincerely look forward to the band's next release. You be sure to look these guys up, too. Those Peabodys already have a secured slot for my Best of 2001 list. (And if you can't find the disc locally, be sure to check out http://www.postparlo.com).