Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Demolition Doll Rods get religion

You have to hand it to Demolition Doll Rods - between their name, their album covers and their music, they have a unerring single-minded purpose. Their sleazy chugging rock knows no stop sign or until now, even a yield sign.

Their 'bio' should give you a good idea of their mindset:

"The Demolition Doll Rods are children of God who were sent to this planet to inspire the creative forces that lie at the heart and soul of each and every living creature... As they get around they will strip you down, pow your wow, challenge you to live right here and right now. Each and every nation shall experience this sensation."

Like the Ramones, they all give up their last names of birth to become reborn as a band (as "Doll Rod") but as far as grunge boogie, bands like the Neckbones or New Bomb Turks might do it better than DDR even though you get the impression from their records that they probably do a dynamite live show.

What makes their latest album, There Is A Difference, special isn't just their usual speed, velocity and noise but the way that temporarily reconsider their sinful ways. Along with the gospel melody at the end, they sink their teeth into "Amazing Grace." Being the "Louie, Louie" of gospel, which means no one can count how often it's been covered, it's a natural song to cover for any performer who wants to invoke religion. But what makes the DDR version stand out is that they don't treat it as piously as it's usually treated. The gorgeous melody is still there and they take it at the slowed pace we're used to hearing it at.

But they also make it sound like the sinners on the other side of salvation that the song tells of. A guitar thunders along through the chord changes while the drums pound like they're ready to back up a stripper. They're heathens still on the Saturday night side of the weekend but crawling towards Sunday morning redemption, trapped for the moment in spiritual limbo. Not many bands can evoke hellfire and heaven in the same song but for a few minutes, DDR manage it, angonizingly crawling out of the fiery pits. Make no mistake- brother Jerry Lee (and hopefully Al Green) would appreciate their effort and accomplishment.


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