May Blitz's painfully overlooked debut packs about as much groovy attack as one would seek from any of these hairy-chested relics from the early 70's.
The Canadian trio's 1970 self-titled release immerses you in what seems like a perfect union of Sabbath's grinding power and Funkadelics irresistible grooves. The band have a serious penchant for nod-inducing riffs typical of this particular grubby unwashed brand of rock n' roll. So much so that you would have to be rhythmically impaired to not embrace almost anything on this early slab of sweaty power trio voltage.
The nasty strut of opening track `Smoking the Day Away' pretty much says it all. With an infectious bluesy riff straight out of the Hendrix toolbox, these guys get off to a good start...a good full 8:19 start. But the extended sections never cause the energy and serious catchiness to dwindle or lose its initial impact.
`I Don't Know' steps between plodding and sluggish until things eventually get good and fonky. Lovely stuff. `Dreaming' starts off...well, quite dreamy really. Suddenly, the drums pick up the pace and everything goes a bit mental in a very far out psych interlude. Sly and the Family Stone's hip shakin stamp is all over forth track `Squeet', in a display of chameleon-like musicianship. Things take a more brooding turn in `Tomorrow May Come' with a very delicate, Gilmour-like guitar. `Fire Queen' comes back to the frantic riffage of earlier tracks. Intense pulsating bass, schizophrenic drums and the wailing vocals of James Black- you can tell these guys are really having fun here.
`Virgin Water' closes the album, and drops the ball.....
Ok, maybe a little unfair, but the slightly progressive, proto-Spinal Tap tendencies (the crashing waves intro, the goofy, ill-fitting narration) doesn't move me on the sheer visceral level that these guys do when they just work that boneheaded magic which eventually rears its head on the tail end of the track, albeit a little too late to fully salvage it. Progressive leanings for these kind of traditionally riff-driven rock acts invariably just come off as amateurish and can either just leave you wincing, bored, or with a desire to put on `Close to the Edge' or `Selling England by the Pound' and listen to how it should be done; capes and all.
The remastered disc has been cleaned up quite nicely, without relinquishing any fuzzed-out choppiness of that classic early 70's analogue sound. The mini vinyl replica digipak contains a scaled down poster which seems to be there for no other reason than to highlight the inferiority of the CD as a piece of art... and reminds you just how much vinyl was the s***.
Even with the closing of the album on a slightly pompous note, this is a tremendous, high-energy, red-blooded rock record. Recommended to anyone with a serious riff fetish.