After fawning over Dusty Watson, I got a review copy of his Bloodhook disc. Hell ya! First, the obvious: This is (i) a three piece with (ii) a girl bass player. I dig the three piece because everyone has to play. And the singer must do something other than clap and strut during breaks (imagine the embarrassment Ozzy or David Lee Roth could have saved if they weren’t left to their own devices during guitar solos).
There is also magic about a girl bass player in a non-girl band. Not that I don’t like girl bands but most end up being about being GIRL BANDS. The mixed gender heavy rock band entertains with questions like: “Is she gay? What does this band talk about if not blow jobs?” The girl bass player provides the rumbles, the melodic backbone and—yes-- moral authority behind the maleness of the others. The Bloodhook bassist, Bonnie Buitrago, plays it heavy, punch and catchy where necessary. She also adds great background vocals.
Which leads into why the Bloodhook disc is good: it’s heavy, has hooks and says something. It’s hard to write a song that says something; it’s risky. But Adam Fuller, the guitarist/vocalist, says stuff like “tomorrow is just another shitty day.” That’s direct; I get it. Not “today is a shitty day” or “tomorrow is gonna be a shitty day” but it already IS a shitty day, and he knows it.
Bands like Pennywise try to say something but without these hooks. They do the “chugga chugga – yell— chugga chugga-- singalong chorus” thing but it’s hard to write songs that aren’t just vanilla background for those tropes. With Bloodhook, there is stuff going on with guitar; the guy is PLAYING. These riffs plant their virus and hijack your brain.
Trying to describe Bloodhook’s sound, I would say it’s like Green Day crossed with Rancid crossed with Queens of the Stone Age. Wait…this is an “underground metal” blog…are readers running for the door and Bloodhook being dismissed for “selling out” already? Ok, how about this: Jawbreaker crossed with the Clash crossed with Kyuss. Is THAT ok? The point is this: Bloodhook write catchy songs like Green Day. When did that become a sin? (And Green Day has some pretty heavy moments as well.) They have a snappy drummer like Green Day. They have a killer rhythm section like Rancid and sing like Rancid sometimes, just not as affected. And they put some thought into the guitar, with some of the riffs having a Middle Eastern flavor like QOTSA or even surf (which makes sense since Dick Dale is Lebanese). Plus, at their rockinest, QOTSA play complex, tight and varied songs such as Bloodhook do whenever they feel like it too. There is some Sabbath sludge riff doom in here as well, and an instrumental that manages to keep your interest. Finally, the album closes out by speeding up with some sort of slide sounding thing that sparks a hope that Fuller has heard Foghat’s “Slowride.”
In closing, I dig this disc. It’s about an arranged marriage of beauty and grime, grim and happy, sludge and snap. Pick it up and check them out; there are worse ways to stimulate this economy.
Catch Bloodhook this Sunday at The Scene in Glendale - it's free!