Friday, September 06, 2019

The Control Freaks - She's The Bomb

I know what you're probably thinking: "Is this another Control Freaks album already?!" You're damn right it is, and it's truly an occasion worth celebrating! Take the day off and blare this thing until the neighbors beg to come over! She's The Bomb follows 2017's (rightfully) acclaimed debut Mindless Entertainment. It's out today on Slovenly Recordings - the planet's preeminent record label for shit-hot garage punk rock and roll!

If you've been keeping score at home, you're likely aware that The Control Freaks released an impressive four singles in between albums. If you missed some or all of them, Greg Lowery and the gang have got you covered. Ace 7" tracks "I Hate Your Face", "Hate List", "I Am Crime", and "Don't Mess With Jessica" all appear on the new album. It would have been kind of a shame if they didn't, because they are killer tunes! But fear not: if you have been a loyal Control Freaks supporter and dutifully kept up with every new release, there are still plenty of new songs on She's The Bomb that'll knock your socks off. I would describe this album as the best of everything Greg Lowery has ever been about. In these songs, I can hear the budget rock spirit of Supercharger, the genius dumb songwriting of The Rip Offs, the '77-style punk leanings of The Infections, and the gleeful snottiness of the Zodiac Killers. And with covers of lesser-known first wave punk classics quickly becoming a signature of this band, you'll be delighted to discover that this album features not one but TWO covers of Aussie '77 punks Babeez! (I checked the rule book: this sort of maneuver is extremely rare but completely legal!)

As good as Mindless Entertainment was, She's The Bomb totally blows it away (no pun intended, I swear!). The Control Freaks have fully hit their stride, and Lowery's chemistry with singer/guitarist/keyboardist Sherrilynn Nelson is a joy to behold. Whereas there were three or four tracks that really stood out for me on Mindless Entertainment, She's The Bomb is stacked with smash hits from start to finish. And Nelson's zippy keyboards definitely add something cool and new to the Control Freaks sound. Given that I am striving to be less prone to hyperbole in my old age, I won't come out with some sort of "this is the best record that Lowery has ever put his name on!" type hot take. But I will say that this album is very comparable to the classic records he's had a hand in creating. If the title track sounds like the perfect combination of Supercharger and The Rip Offs, doesn't that make total sense? "Tell Me Why" ought to elicit a "Hell yeah!" from any diehard budget rocker, while "Time's Up" is such a prime slice of sing-along '77 punk that The Control Freaks might accidentally cover it someday. "Creep You Out" gives me the same goosebumps I got the first time I dropped the needle on Kill...The Infections. The only thing preventing "Hate List" from being adopted as the new national anthem is that "I Hate Your Face" might be an even better choice.

After nearly 30 years of being top dog in the garage punk world, Greg Lowery shows no signs of passing the torch or changing his approach to music. And why would he if can continue to make records this awesome? I suppose if you're looking for musical innovation, state of the art production, or deeply sensitive lyrics about the frailty of humankind, you might take a pass. But if you're dying for a fucking perfect garage punk album, She's The Bomb is exactly what the doctor ordered! First aid kit sold separately.


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