Sometimes music sounds raw because it is raw, and Left Lane Cruisers' third album, All You Can Eat!! is about as raw as they come. Coming on the tails of their 2006 debut, Gettin' Down On It and 2008's Bring Yo' Ass To The Table, this new release sounds like it was recorded in a bare bones 1970 punk recording studio.
In fact, it was recorded with producer Jim Diamond at Detroit's Ghetto Recorders, where they record "utilizing tons of vintage gear (some of which actually works) and boasting all the amenities of prison… ." You may recognize Jim Diamond from his venerable recording and producing career, including his work on the first two White Stripes albums. Diamond pulled out the old vintage amps and microphones, along with washboards and old blues harps for this recording, leading to a fabulously fuzzy, scratchy, raw vintage sound.
The music sounds so big you wouldn't necessarily realize that you are listening to a duo, comprised of Fort Wayne, Indiana locals Freddy J. "Joe" Evans IV on guitar and vocals, and Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck on vocals, drums, misc. percussion, and various other noisy implements. Big bands wish they could sound like this! In their live shows Left Lane Cruiser tends to pay homage to their blues origins, with gritty covers of classics like "Rollin" and "Tumblin'" and "Black Betty" which lend themselves to a hard driving electric onslaught (witness the late RL Burnside). But in the ten original songs on All You Can Eat!! they really show their own style, on this album that was recorded in five days with some of the songs written on the spot.
The beautifully instrumental "Ol' Fashioned" is full of fast furious guitar licks, while "Crackalacka" and "Waynedale" make you feel like you are fast forwarding through a sick car chase. "Hard Ass Blues", "Black Lung", and "Hard Luck" feature wrenching vocals and messy, noisy guitar that made me want to do some shots and resume smoking cigarettes. This is not safe music, but intense gritty, dirty stuff that makes you want to shower after listening.
All You Can Eat!! is old fashioned music without the slick production that I, for one, have grown so used to — and quite bored with. It reminds me of live Cramps, RL Burnside, and even old Henry Rollins. If CBGBs was still open that would be the venue I could see Left Lane Cruiser playing. Amid the dirt, the history, and the gritty smoky fog.
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