Bad Wizard

Sky High

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"A righteous blend of Southern-fried boogie and true New York grit" is how the half North Carolina-half New York quartet, Bad Wizard, like to describe themselves. And upon listening to their fourth long-player, 2006's Sky High, it's hard to argue with that assessment. The group has certainly carved a niche for themselves with the stoner rock set, as evidenced by their riff obsession and band name (although "Bad Wizard" sounds like an early Black Sabbath tune, it's a play on the name of the band's favorite beer). But like most bands that sift through the "retro-rock goldmine," Bad Wizard suffers one tiny set back. They have no problem approximating the sound, feel, and approach of bands from yesteryear -- namely AC/DC and MC5 -- but there's a dilemma when it comes to penning memorable songs like their forefathers. However, what Bad Wizard does have on the other bands is that they have indie cred, since Jennifer Herrema from the Royal Trux serves as producer. The album-opening title track sounds comparable to Stone Temple Pilots at their most psychedelic, "He's a Rat" kicks off with some nifty double-guitar harmonies before morphing into boogie, and the mellow "Black Navigator" turns out to be a break from the cranked-to-11 Marshalls.

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