The latest garage punk bruisers to enter the ring are San Francisco's the Sermon and as the name would suggest, they have a gospelized R&B edge to their particular rock & roll brew. What's channeled is more R&B than gospel, but no matter what you mix it with the source is the same and on Volume it's doing a boot heel shimmy down the aisle with a snake in one hand and brass knuckles in the other. The music is meat and potatoes garage punk à la the Shadows of Knight, the Fleshtones, the Oblivians -- take your pick from any generation -- but just like each of those groups brought their own energy to the table, so do the Sermon. Volume survives on energy, whether it's Rob Alder's endless Keith Moon channeling fills, singer Mike Gabriel's whelps and theremin squeals, or Jeff Glave and Matt Gabriel's MC5 vs. Yardbirds twin guitar attack. There is a brief reprieve from action with a bubblegum psych ballad, "Surprise," but otherwise Volume is an all-out attack on the ears that begs to be seen live.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan