I94BAR - NOVEMBER 2003 - http://www.i94bar.com

Nicotine Records - 2003

No, I'd never heard of Nicotine Records until now either, but it looks like nicotine might not be nearly as bad for you as people keep claiming, at least not if these two releases are anything to go by.

Perhaps I'm getting a bit slow in my old age, but it took me a while to work out whether I was listening to "Bad Dog Boogie" by Motorfucker, or "Motorfucker" by Bad Dog Boogie. Taken as a whole, the album cover supports both stances and frankly the former seemed the more likely, not to mention the more orthodox, but it turns out that it's the latter - the album is "Motorfucker" and the band is "Bad Dog Boogie". Still I spent a contented 40-plus minutes basking in their riffage while I tried to determine which was which.

During my search for enlightenment, I couldn't help noticing that in the small print on the back cover the band acknowledges Mark Farner ahead of Check Berry. Fortunately these guys are a little more focused and a lot less self indulgent, thus delivering the kind of hard charging riffage Grand Funk Railroad always promised without the artery clogging musical cholesterol that GFR all too often dispensed along with it (and yes, I still do have "Closer To Home", "Live" and "Survival" on vinyl in a cupboard somewhere, so I know the why and wherefore of which I speak).

Don't get me wrong though, there's nothing hugely subtle here. This isn't a courteous and cultured meeting of your local debating society. It's big, hairy blokes playing loud, belligerent music; two guitars, no synthesisers, no triple tracked vocals, no syrupy harmonies. Sure, perhaps you could debate whether their cover of "Paint It Black" is any more successful than GFR's cover of "Gimme Shelter". Personally I think they do for "Paint It Black" what the Lemonheads did for "Mrs Robinson".

The only uncomfortable moment came when track two (named "Filthy Place" appropriately enough) seemed to go all techno on me. Then I realised that the skipping and repeating wasn't something that the band had intended. Since I was playing the CD in my CD-Rom drive, my first thought was that this was yet another half-arsed, heavy handed record industry attempt at copy protection so I tried it in my CD walkman, but no dice there either.

As a last resort, I turned the CD over and examined the playing surface, whereupon I was reminded immediately of why it's not a good idea to load your CDs into the player with the same hand you've been using to hold your sticky bun. What a relief - all it took was a quick wipe with a clean hanky to get the good music flowing again (and don't we all wish that the same simple solution would work for commercial radio too!).

These guys have got all the right influences and wear them proudly on their sleeves, from the MC5 ("Kick Out The Jams" is a mystery bonus track, for those who don't mind sitting through the obligatory thirty-odd seconds of silence after the last "official" track) through Led Zep ("Whole Lotta Hate") to Iggy & the Stooges (even working "TV Eye" into the lyrics of "Cum Gets In Your Brain"). Right from the very first time you spin this record there's a warm and welcome sense of familiarity, just like walking into a bar where everybody knows your name (or at least is trying to work it out)...