Speed, Glue & Shinki's landmark debut album, 1971's Eve, is one of the greatest contradictions of its time (maybe all time): a primitive, deranged, and at times downright sloppy mutation of acid blues and proto-metal, akin to the Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills Super Session crashing headlong into earliest Zeppelin and Sabbath records, as performed by musicians whose instrumental chops were actually beyond reproach…but you'd never be able to tell from this! In fact, guitarist and group linchpin Shinki Chen was often referred to as "the Japanese Hendrix," and both bassist Masayoshi "Glue" Kabe and drummer Joey "Speed" Smith possessed impressive résumés of their own before forming this unholy union under the guidance of Atlantic Records Japan executive Ikuzo Orita. As if you hadn't guessed, it was Speed, Glue & Shinki's mutual enthusiasm for various illegal pharmaceuticals that informed not only their crude garage rock aesthetic (the Stooges' debut album sounds almost civilized by comparison), but also the barefaced paeans to massive drug consumption that pass for their lyrics. Take "Mr. Walking Drugstore Man," Eve's opening statement of Neanderthal heavy blues, for example (and take these reds too, maaaaaan…), where Joey's dangerously distorted vocals plead their amphetamine craze-case to his pusher, or the shamelessly direct, musically tighter, and somewhat less lethargic "Stoned Out of My Mind," where Shinki's guitar mastery reflects the rising pulse and paranoia caused by, among other things, "all of the straight people staring" at the band's long hair. Sandwiched between these twin towers (containing nothing but 13th Floor Elevators) is the frankly hilarious "Big Headed Woman," which inhales Link Wray's "Rumble" through the bong that spawned Zeppelin's cover of "You Shake Me" at half-speed, and pillories the young lady who dared smoke all of Joey Smith's "stuff" while "balling another man at night." For shame! Another cut, "Keep It Cool," pretty much reprises this same, sordid cuckold tale just a little while later (and far less effectively), but "Ode to the Bad People" finally lays off the meds long enough to impart some typically utopian hippie messages against the album's most urgent, lucid sonic background. And while the instrumental bass solo, "M Glue," merely soundtracks Masayoshi Kabe's raging addiction to Marusan Pro Bond Glue, the album-closing "Someday We'll All Fall Down" takes a truly astonishing detour into Dylanesque acoustic guitars and soft-spoken philosophies that literally sound like the work of another band. What a trip! So don't be fooled by the innocent trio of schoolgirls gracing Eve's dust jacket; Speed, Glue & Shinki provided one of the most harrowing glimpses into rock & roll's heart of darkness with this lo-fi masterpiece.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia