15 December 2017 (released)
28 November 2017
How did it happen? How did the bouncing bobbley sounds of '60s surf rock come to meld with the country-tinged cinematics of spaghetti westerns to produce the current palette used by the garage rockers emanating from the San Fransisco scene? Sure, they both have their roots in the wild, west of the Mississippi where risking it all becomes a way of life. Perhaps it's their shared love of reverb tanks and tremolo arms. However this bizarre marriage came together, we're all the better for it as these bands are producing some of the most electric, haunting and plain fun music to hit the airwaves today.
San Fransisco's own The Green Door are riding high on the wave of Bay Area garage. Their latest album due out December 15th is a raucous collection of twangy/trippy noise rock with a Stooges punk rock energy. The six brain-bangers from their latest EP Wolf in the Fold will transport you to a storied land lost in the haze of time though it would best be enjoyed while racing down a highway in the southwestern desert of America.
The title track comes busting out of the gate like a wagon propelled by a legion of stallions, speeding through Monument Valley. Rumbling western guitars announce the stampede and lead vocalist Mike Carnahan calls out to the wide open skies. The frenzy hits a fever pitch eventually descending into a madness of whammied guitar spiralling out of control. The ominous wolf from the title looms over the proceedings with a cold, callous predatory tone. Not since Portland's ode to Ennio Morricone, Federale, has someone meshed the spaghetti western ethos with psych-rock so effectively.
The group settles in with 'Tall Grass is Tangled' a buzzy, bopping track with verbed-out whoops recalling surf rock standard 'Miserlou'. The cascading harmonies and excited springy guitars make for a dance-through-the-apocalypse hit. Lead single 'You Won't Hear That Anymore' is The Green Door at their most straight-forward '60s jangle rock with a call and response format plucked right out of the original freakout era. After a few galloping verses, The Green Door drifts off in a wash of backwards guitar and ether-fuelled half-time.
'Back to Houston' returns us to the Texas plains. Carnahan's voice is drenched in slap-back echo while the band scores another trip of the dusty travelling caravan. As per usual, The Door don't end on a quiet note, on a march to Desert Valhalla with wailing guitars leading the way. 'Borderland' outlines the stretch of the journey where the horses are about to drop dead and after they do, the men won't last long. The heat is ungodly, the horizon is endless and the skin of lips cracks from a rabid thirst. An ominous oooh draws your eyes to the sky where the vultures are circling. The band lurches forward at a laboured pace. Organ cascades down like heat waves coalescing into a mirage. Heavy, groovy, phenomenal track with an epic 'She's So Heavy' style outro to boot! The closer 'Rivers' is an a Capella ode to nature's harsh benevolence in the form of a Navajo prayer. An acknowledgement of the desert as an unloving god and a force to be reckoned with.
Wolf in the Fold is a perfect union of sonic imagery and rock n roll. That devil's crossroads where Federale and The Black Angels meet The Animals and Dick Dale. From the hills, they came. They vanquished their enemies in a bloodbath and rode off into the sunset. A last minute entry for the best albums of 2017 list.