The Ribeye Brothers

Bar Ballads... and Cautionary Tales

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Although they never transcend their obvious Nuggets-era roots, the Ribeye Brothers make the most of them. Founded by two ex-members of Monster Magnet, the five-piece churns up a mighty garage racket, often compared to the Seeds and the 13th Floor Elevators, enhanced with occasional Supersuckers country twang. Tim Cronin's snotty, in-your-face vocals are front and center, but Matt Forman's keyboards and Jon Kleinman's scruffy guitar provide a greasy base for him to work from. As its country-styled title suggests, there are a few -- but just a few -- weepy, cautionary ballads in the mix. "Death or Greyhound" is the best, but "From the Floor," a tragic tale of alcoholism that references the cover of Neil Young's American Stars 'N Bars, comes close. However, those are the only instances where ballads interrupt the punky, stripped-down '60s rocking that the Ribeye Brothers recall so effortlessly. Backward guitars on "Roberto Duran" and vocals on "Turpentine" bring the psychedelia, and it's this sense of experimentation that helps the band occasionally transcend its influences. Not that they need to, because this no-frills, American rock stands on its own merits and the band assaults it with the integrity and intensity of the greats that precede them in this genre. It may be only three chords, but the gutsy energy and gritty yet surprisingly well-recorded sound attacks like a rabid dog tearing out of the speakers. Riffs fly, guitars churn, and Cronin wallows in the atmosphere like he was born for it. This may not create any new enthusiasts for the tough garage rock the Ribeye Brothers celebrate, but the album is a real find for existing fans who think that real rock & roll died after the '60s.

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