Review of Adam West "Right On!" CD in I-94 bar - February 2002
RIGHT ON! - Adam West (Telegraph/People Like You)
I'm sure the guys in Washington D.C. band Adam West are kind to animals, don't park in disabled spaces and ring their mothers on their birthdays. On disc, however, they have balls the size of tractor tyres and play tiddlywinks with manhole covers. The song title "Sultry Motherfucker" says it all. This is one tough outfit.
A prolific one too. Vocalist Jake Starr is the head of Fandango Records, who have put out a long string of singles and split-singles by Adam West and other notables (including the Hellacopters and Australia's own Powder Monkeys.) So many, that I had them pegged as a singles band. Not the case, although this album did take a while to grab me. When it did, it was on the score of being a torrid mix of punk and metal - Sabbath meets Acca Dacca at the 100 Club - the likes of which rarely heard in these days of long shorts, day-glo mohawks and designer flanelette shirts. This is cocksure, cock rock of a high order.
Adam West is a leather-and-denim-clad rock beast, inside the heart of which pumps Kevin Hoffman's toxic guitar tone and Jake Starr's electric vocals. Their singularly named bassist Steve (whose bio reads like a paen to, um, beer) and drummer Tom Barrick (now departed but I presume he played on this) anchor the whole thing admirably, but it's the Hoffman-Starr axis that makes it memorable. Jake Starr, a shy and retiring flower by all accounts, who alternates between a hoarse roar and a lewd growl, has a string of Washington "best hard rock vocalist" awards to his credit. You can hear why here.
The are 13 tracks here - and six of 'em clock in at two minutes or less. The Adam West ethos is surely "hit 'em hard, then cut and run". "C'mon and Bludgeon Me" does what it says. "Blueblood" and "Flower, Fist & Bestial Wall" are stand-outs (the former a breakneck harangue that borders on speed metal, the latter 1min52sec of menace.) Contrary to its chorus ("no fucking good") "Hot Chocolate" is. Adam West even pop it up in "Shield Your Eyes", a direction that could bear interesting fruit if they continue to pursue it. They close with a knuckle-duster take on the Saints' "Erotic Neurotic" that sits pretty well.
It might all be a bit too metal for some folks' liking, and I'd love to hear what an outside producer might do in the area of light and shade, but I don't hear too many reasons not to keep giving this airtime.
-The Barman, I-94 bar, February 2002
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