Richard Bitch

The Really Really Jeff Hair People

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A bizarre amalgam of unapologetic '70s soft rock balladry, complex math metal, and subversive self-parody, Richard Bitch's The Really Really Jeff Hair People is a constantly contradictory yet rewarding experience. Mr. Bitch is a band rather than a singular entity (although credits point to a John Hugh Dickey as being the prime mover, not to mention virtuoso guitarist), and the trio plays tight, hard-edged, semi-serious space rock with a technical prowess that makes the listener constantly do double takes while simultaneously banging heads and chuckling at the cartoonishness of it all. "Oui Snuff U," "Stupid Summer," and "Queen-Size Bed" (which slyly nicks the melody line from the hoary old chestnut "The Way We Were") seem to flirt with satire, while the out-and-out rockishness of "@ the Playa Del Ray," "Jacques Cousteau," and "Nadene's Time Machine" leaves one wondering where the smirk went. "Return to Space Gables" is pure shimmering instrumental post-rock, while the tour de force centerpiece "Psionic Railways 2 Mars," which starts off sounding eerily like Experimental Jet Set-era Sonic Youth until it deliberately pinches the snippet of guitar harmonics central to the main riff of Van Halen's "Panama," is such a wry non sequitur that it would never work if it didn't rock so freaking hard. An anomaly among the mostly po-faced world of San Francisco Bay Area indie rock, the now-defunct Richard Bitch was a flash in the pan that never quite ignited, but by any standard should have set the house on fire.

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