Album: Soledad Brothers

Voice Of Treason, Loog/Polydor
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The Independent Culture

Hailing from the same Detroit garage-blues scene that spawned The White Stripes (Soledad frontman Johnny Walker apparently taught Jack White how to play guitar), The Soledad Brothers - singer/ guitarist Walker, drummer Ben Swank and guitarist/ saxophonist Oliver Henry - deal in raw-boned punk-blues rave-ups whose fiery spirit is matched by their anarchic political attitude. Think the North Mississippi Allstars meet the Kings Of Leon, or the Boggs meet the Stones of Let it Bleed, and you'll get some idea of the musical territory inhabited by Voice of Treason. Lyrically, these loping boogies and slow, stalking blues may have their due complement of hellfire and demons and morning wake-ups, but there are lines and themes here you wouldn't find in a John Lee Hooker or Howlin' Wolf song. "Sight Unseen", a slow, predatory stomp with a scrawl of guitar noise, contains the observation, "The underside of an undersight/ Leads the way to plunder and plight", which makes reasonable sense, while "Elucidator" features the enigmatic claim, "I am the seer of all sights unseen/ I am the witness to the pain/ And a witness to the misery/ I am the elucidator of untold impurities", which has something of the Marilyn Mansons about it, I feel. Partly recorded at the same Toerag Studios in east London that spawned The White Stripes' Elephant, there's a bite and viscerality to the performances here that's quite thrilling, particularly on the opening "Cage That Tiger", a one-chord thrash that marries The Velvet Underground's monotonal insistence with the R&B slouch of classic American garage-punk. This week's saviours of rock'n'roll.