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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The fundaMentals

High Crimes In Lo-Fi

Review by Gary Hill

This new set from The fundaMentals is not a big change for them. It is, however, another effective set. If you like garage band music with a punky edge, you'll find plenty to enjoy here. This has a bit more of a retro 60s rock edge than some of their earlier work, perhaps. It doesn't lose any intensity and class to get it, though.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
They Can't Kill Us All
There is almost a metal grind to the hard rocking groove that opens this thing. As the vocals join it takes on a bit of a D.O.A. vibe. There is such a healthy helping of old school blues rock in the mix here. Yet, there are hints of NWOBHM here, too.
Gypsy Dancer
A guitar chord starts this, but quickly gives way to a drum workout. The cut fires in from there more of a punky garage rocking jam that's all class. There are definitely metallic moments here.
Down The Rabbit Hole
A mellower, more balladic cut, psychedelia and even hints of space rock are sewn into the tapestry here. This still has plenty of that indie, punky edge, though.
Cheap Lipstick
The hard-edged riff-driven jam that opens this thing is all class. The cut drives forward from there.
How 'Bout You?
Another hard-edged rocker, some organ lends a real retro edge. There is a lot of psychedelia in the mix on this tune. This alternates between the more rocking stuff and mellower modes.
Ain't Comin' Back Alive
I love this song. The hard-edged blues rock sounds merged with psychedelia, punk and garage sounds work so well.  This tune is just so meaty and tasty. It's my favorite of the set. I dig the way the rhythm section takes over at the end, too.
Stereo 102
The organ lends some retro texture to this cut, too. This isn't a ballad, but it's mellower than some of the others. I like this one quite a bit, and it lends variety, but it's not a standout. There is a more developed backing vocal arrangement on this number.
Dumpster Fires and Trainwrecks
I dig the rocking groove on this tune. It's not a huge change, but it just does it so well. D.O.A. is a valid reference point on this number, too. This has some of the tastiest guitar soloing of the set.
You Nuke Me
There is a cacophonous, chaotic angle to this cut in some ways. It grinds through a mid-tempo jam. It's not a huge change, but this one doesn't work as well for me as some of the rest. I'm definitely reminded of some of the stuff Neil Young has done with Crazy Horse on this tune. There is a drop back to just the rhythm section along with vocals later in the piece, but they bring it back out from there.
Rat Bastard
There is a definite metal edge to this hard rocking tune. It's a classy number with some pretty crazed guitar work. It's one of the highlights of the set. I dig the feedback bit that ends the track .It definitely reminds me of Crazy Horse.
instruMental
The closing instrumental seems to capture the sound we've heard throughout the set. It pulls it off with a bit more of a melodic edge. It's an unusual, but effective, way to end the disc.
 
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