Infernal Overdrive

Last Rays of the Dying Sun

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Infernal Overdrive's first album, Last Rays of the Dying Sun, may be a pun of Jimi Hendrix's posthumous collections (First Rays of the New Rising Sun), yet its lyrics curiously read like a twisted travelog through New-fookin'-Joisey…and what a morbid road trip it can be, too. Jersey is in fact very clean, quite beautiful, even idyllic in places, but it can also be rather filthy, stinky, and downright weird; its road signs are so poorly placed and contradictory, it almost seems as though the unseen agents behind that weirdness are trying to lure you off the main roads toward whatever lurks beyond the thickets and in the murky swamps. Suffice to say that Boston native and Infernal Overdrive frontman Marc Schleicher (also of Cracktorch, Antler, and others) counts himself amongst those captured by the Garden State's proverbial venus flytrap (and locked into a late-‘70s time warp of some kind, to boot), so it appears to be his lot in life to wax poetic about the experience on the likes of "I-95" (named after the Jersey Turnpike) and the sardonic "Deported to Jersey." Funny thing is, Schleicher's smooth voice is way too civil and contained to properly convey his home state's wacky frame of mind, which may explain why "Cage" actually sounds like a mild-mannered rewrite of Pearl Jam's "Animal," and there's more bark than bite to the band's pedestrian cover of Ace Frehley's "Rip It Out." OK, so this road trip isn't without its fair share of memorable, pulse-accelerating hazards, as evidenced by the steaming hot guitar licks of "The Edge," the harmony-encrusted tire grooves of "Duel," and the mesmerizing cruise control established by "Motor" over 14 minutes of blues riff perfection. But an unqualified retro-rock tour de force it most certainly is not, so one can only expect that Infernal Overdrive will build upon its positive attributes (and manage to get the hell out of Jersey) on their next album.

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