Gas House Gorillas - Five Gorillas Walk Into A Bar (DM11608)
reviewed by Michael Macomber
Remember those hoodlum friends you had when you were a teenager? Remember the way they used to hang out down by the drugstore in their zoot suits, snapping their fingers and acting too cool for school? Well, they grew up to be the Gas House Gorillas.
This primo jump blues band has it all: an amazing rhythm section, awesome sax playing, fabulous guitar, a killer frontman, and fantastic songs. And more than all that, these guys have the ability to cross over from jump blues to swing to rock and back again, often within the same track.
“All She Wants To Do Is Rock” boogies and swings and rocks and kicks and, like most of the tunes on this disc, has an absolutely infectious hook. Hiro Suzuki positively wails on guitar, taking the whole thing up and way over the top. Rick Fink’s suggestive vocal delivery is magnificent.
“Memories Of You” is a quieter, sweeter number, blending pop with a gentle swing and a touch of blues. Tim Veeder’s sax backing is exquisite, and again, Suzuki lets his guitar go for broke, this time eliciting a lonely and heartrending cry. “Swing That Thing” is a piston-pumpin’ masterpiece, giving Veeder more room to ply his trade. “Nine Lives” is pure, rhythm-section-led evil, racing along at breakneck speed. Upright bassist Crusher Carmean clicks away like a madman, while drummer Dan Hickey keeps it tight and oh so right.
From romantic ballads to raucous dance tunes, the Gas House Gorillas have got it covered. They even have the good taste to offer up a rendition of the Groucho Marx classic, “Everyone Says I Love You.” Now, that rocks!