Big Dumb Riffs by Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol

Release date: March 22, 2024
Label: Permanent Teeth

I’m sure there’s a reason or back story as to how Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol decided on their name. If you can get over the daft moniker, the good news is that Big Dumb Riffs, the new (and sixth) album from the Austin based band, is absolutely smashing. The trio consist of Leo Lydon (8string guitar/vocals), Aaron Metzdorf (bass/gang vocals) and Sean St. Germain (thunder drums/gang vocals) and they create the most brilliant doom sludge pop combination I’ve ever heard. Not that I’ve ever heard any other act try that combination. There are reference points and influences to cite but naming them just won’t do this band’s sound justice. You have to experience it for yourself. Note I said experience, not listen, as this album has to be played LOUD to be fully enjoyed.

Opener ‘Bastard Initiated’ blasts along at breakneck speed, Leo’s marmite vocals a monotone drone firing off missives. ‘Blue Collar Man’ contains an addictively simple sludgy riff that digs into your head like a blunt spade. Sean’s slamming beats are minimal yet have a huge impact with their simplicity. ‘Body Bag’ has a sledgehammer riff that chips concrete over a filthy slow pounding beat. Leo sounds unhinged but in the cheekiest way imaginable. The grinding groove will have you nodding your head like a loaded-up stoner.

The riff on ‘Brat’ is insanely addictive and as big and dumb as the album title suggests, yet it feels fresh. It’s so incredibly physical as a sound force you feel your ears pump when you listen to it through earbuds. Twisted genius. ‘Clowntown’ ups the pace with a whipcrack groove that snaps with evil intent. ‘El Sappo’ takes the silliness to a new level with some frankly bizarre vocals from Leo. The band decide to create a sludge version of ZZ Top, try and forget that it sounds a little like Limp Bizkit too.

 

Ever wondered what Morrissey fronting a sludge band would sound like? Well, here’s ‘In A Jar’ to fulfil that scenario. Over a bass riff so deep it’s practically tectonic Leo tries his hand at a croon of sorts. When he the sings the line “feel my hands wrapped around your throat, I’m going to fucking kill you” it’s hard to be particularly shocked by the level of violent intent as he sounds so nice. ‘Papa Pop It’ has a masterful groove like a funk version of a slowed down Slayer. Once again, they verge awfully close to Limp Bizkit but it still retains a quirky enjoyable charm.

As I said at the outset, it’s really very hard to take a band with the name Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol seriously. Then they have a song called ‘Peanut Butter Snack Sticks’ and new levels of daftness get unlocked. This track is probably the hardest hitting of the songs on the album with a jagged riff and explosive beats. On ‘Whip It Around’ yet again I’m dumbfounded at the simplicity of the riffs that somehow sound fresh and inventive. Is it because it is played with the most down tuned guitars ever created? Closing track ‘1800EATSHIT’ is like one of the knock-off hardcore songs the Beastie Boys used to release when conventional rap musicianship got boring. It’s a rip snorting groove that locks into the groove like a heat seeking missile and refuses to let go.

I was really truly surprised by how much this album impressed me right from the get-go. You really need to be in a certain mood to fully embrace the pure fun of the riffs and songs here. Sophistication is not high on the agenda, yet someone somewhere has a keen ear for detail to actually manifest such an incredible level of intense noise in such a small space. At only 20 minutes long, this album can really shift a mood and if you need some release from the daily grind, there’s no better way to beat the blues. It’s big, it’s dumb, it’s fucking rifftastic, job done!

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