Great rock ‘n’ roll always benefits from a good dose of creative dementia in its devilry and you get plenty of that and more in the bedlam that is Fourteen Inches of Fist. The new album from London quartet Atomic Suplex is nonstop ingenious lunacy, a dangerous riot for body and soul, and quite brilliant.
The UK quartet has been stirring up sonic trouble for a number of years now, earning increasing acclaim with every release and a reputation as one ferociously exciting and uncompromising band live. Stages across the UK and Europe, as well as Asia, have been shared with the likes of The Hives, Guitar Wolf, The Gories, The Adolescents, Nobunny, The Kids, Jet Boys, Armitage Shanks, Richard Herring, The Spits, The Fat White Family, The Buzzcocks, Theee Bat amongst many more whilst singles and EP’s over time, and certainly acclaimed 2010 debut album Bathroom Party on Crypt Records, have marked the band out as a must investigation for a growing horde of fans. Now it is Fourteen Inches of Fist raising a storm since its recent release, and declaring Atomic Suplex as not a must but the essential riot for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.
Sound and album is garage rock, punk rock, noise rock…any kind of dirty, insatiable rock ‘n’ roll you can think of and a torrent of fun from its first to last breath. One Man Party kicks things off with the announcement “When I say I’m a dick, you best believe I’m a dick! D- I- K.” It sets the aggressive belligerent tone which rousingly fuels the whole album, and a song which is soon erupting into a salaciously tenacious slab of punk ‘n’ roll driven by the rousing tones of Jim Suplex. A sonic web of noise is soon grasping ears through his and Emma Leaning’s guitars whilst a gloriously throaty bass sound is conjured by Dan Suplex amidst the wicked swipes of drummer JD Kickdrum. The track is pure attitude, like early Damned merging with The Sonics, and instant slavery.
The album’s title track comes next, it too a concussive explosion of sound but this time infusing honky-tonk piano, blues rock spicing, and garage rock ‘n roll devilry into its mix of raw sixties and seventies rock ‘n’ roll. Flames of brass only add to the theatre of the muggy scenery as too the gritty backing vocals of Emma behind Jim’s raw incitement. As its predecessor, the track has ears and appetite lustful, a success 14 Inches of Fist relentlessly achieves from first song to last.
Set It On Fire has limbs scything through air next with seventies punk antagonism meets psych rock contagion, its guitars and brass a resourceful scorching, whilst Wild Love invites naughty deeds with a Rocket From the Crypt meets Dick Venom and the Terrortones infestation of sound. Both tracks are ridiculously compelling persuasive yet find themselves outshine by the outstanding Firing Line. The song is manna for the ears and heart, its Mighty Mighty Bosstones like opening alone igniting the instincts to party before rhythms provide a jungle of unstoppable temptation frequented by wonderful squirts of sax. They develop into subsequent deranged toxicity further in, colluding with a just as rigorously arousing web of guitar and bass enterprise. As ever like a side show barker, Jim adds his vocal stirring to the mix for one slice of irreverent creative alchemy.
Fifties inspired and seventies coloured rock ’n’ roll gets the Atomic Suplex corruption next, the raw and caustic devilment of S. U. P. L. E. X. a tempest of sonic and vocal raucousness pierced by melodic bait and fiery hooks. It is less than a minute and a half of catchy mayhem before Two Girls flirts like a punk incarnation of The Shangri-las tutored by The Rezillos. As all songs though, air is raw, sound scuzzy, and the encounter as abrasive as it is virulent, and again thrilling.
J.D. Attack pounds the senses like the bastard son of a Showaddywaddy and Reverend Horton Heat union, its thumping rhythms and heavyweight brawl of sound one party you know would welcome gate crashers with devilish relish whilst the corrosively scarring Ass Tecnica is noise punk knavery which, as in the previous song, twists anything from surf and r&b to garage rock into its ravenous bellow. The pair unsurprisingly leave exhaustion and exhilaration in their wake, as too the eighteen second punk assault of No Pain No Gain, a song more than backing up its title.
Like The Cramps meets The Mobbs, You’ve Got Some Nerve has the body throwing moves hips were surely not made for across its forty odd seconds, a wonderful physical test followed by some respite through the hex that is Pancho. Sultry sax caresses ears initially though in no time it is joined by a wall of sonic intrigue and adventure which has a whiff of Oh! Gunquit to it. Continuing to spill funky hooks, searing grooves, and a garage bred invention; the song is as psychotic as it is clear infection, and another pinnacle of a very lofty landscape to Fourteen Inches of Fist.
Chicken Rich is a ragtime hued haunt seeded in the past which descends into anarchy the further its nostalgia persists whilst closing track White Shoes is quite simply incendiary rock ‘n’ roll which manages to spin a tapestry suggesting everyone from Billy Haley to The Cramps, King Salami and The Cumberland 3 to Turbonegro, and Screaming Jay Hawkins to Johnny Thunders within its epidemic of unbridled energy and senses inflaming rock ‘n’ roll.
Fourteen Inches of Fist is one of the best real and organic rock ‘n’ roll album this year and of a few before, maybe the best, and Atomic Suplex the one band you were meant to lose your sanity with.
Fourteen Inches of Fist is available now via Dirty Water Records on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally.