Spin Cycle

monster-magnet-last-patrolThe space lords from Red Bank, NJ have returned.  They are a band that has survived into the 21st Century, are in their 24th year together and have just released their 10th, and possibly best, studio album to date.

The Last Patrol, while not as trippy and psychedelic as earlier works, is every bit the signature stoner-mixed-with-classic-rock sound they’ve created their own niche for.  The standard album is a taut nine songs of pure ‘Power Tripping.’

The album begins on a sparse guitar note and Dave Wyndorf’s wispy vocals intone ‘I got a feeling that nobody cares/about all that confetti I threw in the air/nothing’s important/but everything is/if there ain’t no photo/I just don’t exist…’  His baritone and quick curls of guitar dot the sparse main line.  At just over two minutes in comes a quick two-note piano and then the drums and guitar kick in and we’re off on opener ‘I Live In The Clouds.’

It’s a prelude to the 9-minute title track, a dusty, desert tour-de-force with fantastic, repetitive riffage that will have the listener headbanging and pounding the steering wheel consistently for it’s entire run. Both rhythm guitarist Phil Caviano and newcomer lead guitarist Garrett Sweeney aptly keep the tune on pace.

‘Three King Fishers,’ is a world-beat psychedelic head buzz that definitely takes it’s nods from Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan,’ while ‘Paradise,’ sounds almost like a companion single to the band’s biggest number, ‘Space Lord.’  Wyndorf take a sleazy path to Gary Glitter’s glam on ‘Hallelujah,’ and it’s deliciously dirty.

First single ‘Mindless Ones,’ is pure Monster Magnet FM-radio vitriol.  Caviano and the rhythm section of Bob Pantella (drums) and Chris Kosnick (bass) hold things down while Sweeney throws in those signature spaghetti solos and full on wah-wah.  Wyndorf rails his space-rock chorus ‘So turned on/when we all knew it was gone/burn our wheels into the sun/surrender to the mindless ones…’

Bongos, acoustic guitar and synth guide the galactic campfire tune, ‘The Duke (of Supernature).’  Some Tantric-like rhythm on the track coupled with a full-kit set of drumming midway through and Sweeney’s 70’s influenced guitars flesh the tune out further.  ‘End of Time,’ revs things back up again at full throttle for close to eight minutes of apocalyptic overload.

The album fades out on another stellar Wyndorf acoustic rumination.  On ‘Stay Tuned,’ he warbles, ‘there ain’t no targets to aim for man/there ain’t no mountains to climb/at least, they’re not where they used to be/why even keep it hard/in a flatline world/where each piece of dung/is the next big thing…’  Reminds me of Mastermind‘s ‘Gods and Punks,’ yet more powerful.

Two bonus tracks follow – the almost Pearl Jam-ish garage rocker ‘Strobe Light Beatdown,’ and love gone wrong tale ‘One Dead Moon.’  They’re fun, but I agree they don’t fit into the tracking of the main LP.  For my money, this album is Magnet’s best output – from start to finish – to date.  It’s a taut rock album with all the things a fan of the band or of psychedelic classic rock could want.  Maybe not as trippy or even as hard as previous works, but it makes up for it in consistency and thoughtful songwriting.

Grade: A

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