Mon 26th March 2018
I know this is their second album now, but three things still present themselves as nicely suprising when hearing Henry Blacker - the first being that this is, largely, a spin off band from the mighty Hey Colossus, second that at times they follow a pure stoner rock line, and third that it is so good. Not that I'd expect anything less, but first of all - where do they find the time? - and then the stylistic stance, not one I'd naturally associate.
The opening two tracks are phenomenal. Cag Mag begins with a big punked up stoner riff, continuing through as if Greenleaf or even Colour Haze are in the room. It is glorious, a song trapped in my head days after hearing it first. Two Shapes is itching to be unleashed from the start, a burst of pace when freed, a Hermano style evident throughout. The flair at the end is ridiculous fun, channeling a pure desert spirit of the greats.
There's reminders of the whole Kyuss family tree, from Mondo Generator on Shingles to the Floor, to early QOTSA or Brant Bjork's solo material on Keep It Out Of Your Heart, whose grizzly jaunty riff is all smiles and fuzz. There's an aggregate Desert Sessions mood throughout, and the excellent closing Little Lines brings thoughts of Blues for the Red Sun and its bass rumble in its boisterousness.
There are hints outside of stoner rock realm, AmRep sounds for example, on A Dredger First for one, and even that has me thinking of The Heads to begin with, the slacker vocals drifting in non-committedly on the sedated introduction.
All in all, this is an awesome exhibition of how stoner rock can sound relevant in 2018, the commendably restrained vocal performance a perfect accompaniment to the fuzz-out roll. It might not maintain the heights generated in the first couple of tracks, but that's a quibble barely fair to mention, as ...Junior Bonner is a joyous ride of high end stoner rock.