The two records that are subject of this review have something in common. They are seamlessly reintroducing hard rock into the garage-rock club scene and it’s an incredibly welcoming and rejuvenating moment in the newer rock’n’roll history. These two bands do it with pride.
Orville Bateman Neeley III is up and coming new royalty of the larger rock’n’roll scene. His initials make the name of the OBN IIIs band name. Although a new name to me, Neeley has been present on the Austin underground scene since 2011 and this is his third studio album already. After a quick 1-2-3-4 is counted out, the album begins confidently with No Time For The Blues. And before the third song Uncle Powderbag runs out, you already have an idea that this album is a good, fast rocking garage rock ordeal.
But then Queen Glom and Beg to Christ kick in and something happens there. These two are not your generic garage rock tunes. Neeley slows down and gets heavy. Listening to those two songs, you only miss a whirling Vertigo label in the middle of the LP. The songs turn to hard rock for depth and bravado. When I heard that sound, I knew I missed it very much.
Anthemic Parasites goes by and Worries close the record by going back to the garage sounds with some incredible guitar soloing in the middle.
Liquor Store come from the suburbs of New York City. They also bring out that old hard rock sound, especially in tunes like Pile of Dirt and Lynchmob, but the record is more than that. They depart from hard rock more than they stick to it, showing a sense of humor with Vodka Beach and Titty Was Loc’d.
In The Garden is a big, rich sounding record. Satin Dollars defend the glory of the New York City, sounding like a lost Dolls song. Harp sounds like a great addition and multiple voice chanting adds to the excitement. On Midnight Walker and some other moments on the record, Liquor Store sound like an 80s rust-belt rock band Death of Samantha.
Layers of the instruments and complexity from both records that we are reviewing here, proved a bit challenging to recreate on the live stage, when I saw OBN IIIs and Liquor Store playing live in Cleveland. Particularly, the hard rock edge proudly displayed on both records did not come through in the live shows, but both bands tried hard and still made memorable shows. I will be definitely looking forward for their future shows and records. I sure hope that the hard rock sound sticks around in today’s rock’n’roll scene. OBN IIIs and Liquor Store will be remembered as the flag bearers of this new trend.