Rock N Roll Kamikaze

The Dragons

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Rock N Roll Kamikaze Review

by Johnny Loftus

In 2001, Rock n Roll Kamikaze had the bad luck of being issued by Junk Records just as the Huntington Beach indie was closing its doors. Factor in a tour aborted by the events of 9/11, and the LP became one more chunk of bad luck for these hardworking San Diego garage punks. However, the relationship the Dragons established with Gearhead in 2003 has once again borne fruit, with the label's reissue of this expanded and remastered edition of Rock n Roll Kamikaze. Fans of Sin Salvation, the band's searing Gearhead debut -- or anyone familiar with their live show, which features many of these cuts -- should swallow this kamikaze like the stinging rock & roll shot that it is. Overdriven gutter guitar, Mario Escovedo's gritty slurs, and a rhythm section that sounds like an R-rated '50s sock hop -- it's all here, buffed and polished and primed as barbecue music. Highlights include the Social Distortion-style tumble of "C'mon," "Like It's a Bad Thing"'s raucous melodics ("My [unintelligible] said that I'm a star and I believe it/I like to drink a lot but that's all right...."), and "Greyhound," which crosses punk with vintage, glammy hard rock for the album's most fully realized moment. Kamikaze's five bonus tracks date from the album's original recording session. They're all strong, following the Dragons' pattern of propulsive rhythms colored by Escovedo's sun-damaged shriek and the ragged guitar leads of Ken Mochikoshi. "Take It All Out on Me" and the amplified Nuggets moment "Breakdown" are both major standouts.

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