Lecherous Gaze - On The Skids

11 songs
37:57 minutes
***** **
Tee Pee / The Orchard


Proclaiming themselves the Number One Rockin’ Band in the world sounds like a clear case of biting off more than they can chew. West coast rockers Lecherous Gaze certainly don’t suffer from low self esteem, and this definitely plays in their favour on their debut longplayer On The Skids. Arisen from the ashes of a band called Annihilation Time, Lecherous Gaze sound like they come straight from early Seventies in the USA, when proto punk emerged from garage rock. With hindsight covering about forty years, it’s of course not unusual that the four dirty looking rockers have found the time and inspiration to add elements of hard rock, psychedelia, blues, punk rock and hardcore into the mix.

Straight on from the opener Lyin’ In The Road, the recipe’s clear cut. The quartet plays excruciatingly grimy rock music that might remind mostly of MC5, but there are even elements harking back to the Sixties with certain Jimi Hendrix guitar fills, and of course a deft punk attitude. The songs don’t really differ that much, and it was probably not the band’s intention to redefine rock music. Instead the eleven songs all more or less follow a similar template: loud and heavily distorted guitars, a surprisingly skilful bass guitar, fierce drumming and a vocalist with a venomous performance that reminds of a really pissed off Alice Cooper just before he became famous in the Seventies.

Now call me a stickler for high fidelity, but I can’t get rid of the impression that the production sounds somewhat muddy throughout the record. I do understand that this kind of music doesn’t deserve and require the crystal clear sound of a progressive rock album, but a little more transparency should have been possible as it would have most likely added to the dynamic depth of the album. Apart from the short concluding bluesy instrumental Redeemer, the motto is constantly “no holds barred” and “take no prisoners”, and while the generally short songs are all very good, I have a hard time picking out favourites even after submitting myself to the album for one week, mostly during my drives to work. The only track that has undeniable cult status is Bagagazo, a longer yet incredibly catchy proto punk rockers somewhere in the middle between MC5 and the New York Dolls.

I have no doubt about the tremendous potential of Lecherous Gaze. There are nowadays many retro revivalists, but few perform with such dedications as these four Californians. Let’s wait and see what the future will bring for them. If they don’t lose their ferocity and maybe sport a less muddy production the next time around, there is nothing stopping them from grinding their way to the very top.

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