Repeated Exposure To... by 1000modsRelease date: December 5, 2016
Label: Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings
Death. Taxes. Burps after beer. There are some things which are inevitable. Like 1000mods producing a decent slab of stoner rock. You know what you are going to get. This is the band’s third album and, thankfully, in a year as tumultuous as 2016 has been, it’s good to know that some things are still the same.
Actually, that may be selling Repeated Exposure To… short. Because it is far more than a rehash of what has come before from the Greek quartet. No way. It is fresher, more upbeat and, hell, riffier than 2014’s Vultures.
It does reclaim some of the exuberance that was on display for the band’s full-length debut, Super Van Vacation, but this is a definite step forward. On Repeated Exposure To… – which was released in September, but gets a UK airing in December – the songwriting is sharper than anything they have done. The riffs and hooks are there, as are some clever lyrics. And the production is stunning. Put simply, it sounds huge, fuzzy, warm, crisp – all of these things.
Vocalist Dani G has matured; he sounds like himself rather than a man attempting to imitate like John Garcia from Kyuss, which he had been prone to do on the previous albums. And crucially, not a minute is wasted. At times with Vultures you got the feeling that a couple of the mid-song jams could have been trimmed a little. Not here. No way. This is lean as a vegan’s dog.
There is a clue from the cover that this album is a step forward from what has come before. Where the debut had a Rick Griffin-style cartoon cover and Vultures had a “Queens of the Stone Age” feel to it, this one, sporting a close-up of what looks like a vintage valve amp, stamped with a warning about excessive noise – the first three words of which provide the album’s title – signals a new level.
And as the opening riff kicks in on the first track, ‘Above179’, you are not disappointed. In fact there are enough head-nodding riffs and hooks as Dani sings “We are the Gods, the kings of nowhere, we are the dogs who live in despair” in this song alone to fill a whole album. But there are seven more slabs of high-quality desert rock to come.
Next up is ‘Loose’, which is a sprawling eight-minute number, which goes from driving, droning guitars, to psychedelic freak-outs to brooding bluesy solos and back again. ‘Electric Carve’ starts out with a shuffle then brings in some shimmering bass chords (yes, that is possible) to rise the song well above a mere three-minute hard-rock number. Another eight-minute epic follows in ‘The Son’ and the gutsy guitar work and quiet other-worldly interlude hide what sounds a bleak subject matter. We’re thrown back on the good-time bus on ‘A.W.’, which is a fairly orthodox rocker, albeit one that is done very well.
The final three songs are lumbering mammoths – and of course we mean this in a good way. ‘On a Stone’ is melodic, if massive, whereas ‘Groundhog Day’ has a self-referential repetitive riff, which is hugely satisfying to any worshipper of enormous guitar sounds. Then there is ‘Into the Spell’. It begins benignly enough, then builds. Two guitar licks weave around each other. It builds some more. Then BAM! A monster riff hits you in the guts, as Dani wails: “I’m high and I am free from your spell.”
This goes on until there are two minutes remaining and an extended coda, all heaviosity and melody, carries us to the end of the album. And we wake up. Awesome stuff.