Beasts of Bourbon

Sour Mash

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From the beginning, the Beasts of Bourbon were formed as a drinking club/side project of the Australian underground rock scene of the early '80s. In the Beasts' ranks were members of the Cruel Sea, Hoodoo Gurus, Johnnys, and the Scientists, who assembled to cut an album of blues-drenched sleaze-rock one afternoon in 1984. The Axeman's Jazz became a springboard for much later success as a full-time working band. In 1988, the group released Sour Mash, which was a dream come true for fans of the Australian rock and garage punk that fused the sensibilities of their disparate groups to great success and marked the transition to full-time concern for the group members. With the Johnnys and Scientists both calling it a day just prior to Sour Mash, the collective creative forces were pooled to make the Beasts of Bourbon's landmark in which remains their prime document. A raw blues-rock album with post-punk afflictions, the band was often compared to the Birthday Party, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and the Surrealists. Although, maybe that similarity is only extra evident due to sharing producer Tony Cohen, who hand shaped some of the best Australian rock albums of the '80s and '90s. Sour Mash was produced by Phil Punch and the Beasts of Bourbon, which should be indicative enough from such titles alone what kind of a raucous affair the album is. With the enigmatic Tex Perkins, who could be one of rock & roll's last great frontmen, and the blistering slide-guitar-driven sound, the band does a fine job of re-creating the sound of a twisted night out at the pub. The Beasts certainly have stakes on a claim to the phrase "desert rock" on this outing, which has Kim Salmon's trademark guitar twang all over it. The follow-up Black Milk disappoints considerably next to this, undoubtedly their finest work.

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