Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds / Kid Congo Powers

Gorilla Rose

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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett

Little surprise that Kid Congo Powers should kick off an album that sounds like it belongs somewhere at a garage Frug session, a just-south-of-the-border bar in the 1960s with Jack Nitzsche trying to make a horn section do something it wouldn't normally do -- and even less surprise that Kid Congo wouldn't have it any other way. With the sleazed-up skronk and shake of "Bo Bo Boogaloo" kicking things off, Gorilla Rose finds Powers and company, including new bandmember/multi-instrumentalist Jesse Roberts, enjoying themselves to the full, as if that era not only never died but neither did any of the people in it -- and who could go against such a fine wish? Hearing Powers intone various celebrations of things like black leather and bad habits on "Goldin Browne" as R&B grooves and sneering guitar kick along is great, as is his glammed-up Bukowski scenario on "Flypaper." There's more actual singing at various points as well, such as on "At the Ruin of Others," though even then he sounds like he's aiming to be the slightly more tuneful narrator at the opening of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, letting his guitar do the talking as needed (and on that song, really cranking it up on the solo). There are instrumentals throughout, like "Bubble Trouble" with its guitar line that's near pure scuzz even as the grooves urge listeners to do their best Toni Basil imitation (or worse, Austin Powers, depending), while song titles like "Hills of Pills" and "Lord Bloodbathington" kinda say it all as it is (and the keyboards on the latter make for the perfect arch-European/horror movie touch). Then there's "Our Other World," with Powers telling an entertaining tale about his days working "in a Hollywood record store," dealing with an angry Rick James, punk-era antics, and more besides, while the organs pump, the grooves swing, and the whole thing feels like the best autobiography not yet filmed.

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