Dreadnaught — Hard Chargin'
(Red Fez 905, 2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-02-16
There are a lot of bands out there called Dreadnaught. If you are looking for the metal band from Australia, this is definitely not them. This Dreadnaught’s roots go back to the University of New Hampshire in 1996, also the year of their first cassette release which is impossible to find (but the best cuts from it can be found on the 2CD compilation High Heat and Chin Music, which is a best-of everything they did before 2005). The band is a trio of Bob Lord (bass, keyboards, and vocals), Justin Walton (guitar, keyboards, piano, sax, and lead vocals) and Rick Habib (drums and lead vocals), a lineup that has been the same since their two EPs Have a Drink with Dreadnaught (2013) and Gettin’ Tight with Dreadnaught (2015) following the return of Habib after about a ten year absence. They also feature guests on flute, violin, and a mysterious solo on the seventh track, a crazy countrified version of “That’s the Way That You Do It” – a track that appears three times in wildly different versions across the album. So what do these guys sound like? If you know Dreadnaught already and you’ve been following their trajectory over all these years, this is right where they should be. Like a lot of bands that develop at universities, their sound is a crazy mash-up of a lot of different styles that one wouldn’t expect to coexist, but they do.
On the opener “Have a Drink with Dreadnaught” (no, this song wasn’t on the EP of the same name), the band launches into a busy and chaotic three-minute mix of choppy rock, punky organ, bluesy slide guitar moves, great vocal harmony, and some interesting lyrics contributed by Geoff Logsdon and Jay Taylor. Seriously complex, but never too serious, the band is loose and very tight at the same time (how is that possible?) and an entire review could be written just about that one song, but there’s a lot more to absorb here. “Slave Girls” is a jangly rocker that punches and rolls between styles freely as it goes; it’s just crazy, like an adventurous mash-up between Echolyn and Estradasphere, all on overdrive with twists and turns coming at you with every measure. The eleven minute instrumental “Mummies of the Cobbosseecontie” covers even more territorry, with hints of jazz, metal, Zappa, funk, progressive rock, and more mixing freely in a crazy stew that switches off regularly surprising the listener at every turn. Perhaps the most instantly likeable song here is “Takin’ a Ride with the Fat Man (Fatta Fatta Puck Puck)” which seems to channel a rippin’ southern rock style through a sort-of Mr. Bungle meets early 10cc mode, with lots of diversions at seemingly every corner, and of course a great drum solo and instrumental break in there before it gets back to the main song, and then drifts of to a really weird ending. “Bo-Leg-Ba” is a completely wacked tune that follows, only a minute and a half, but there’s a lot of craziness stuffed into those measures. There’s a lot more here that needs to be heard and replayed many times, but the long and the short of it is: if one is looking for fun, adventurous rock tunes that go all over the musical map, you can’t do much better than Hard Chargin’.
Related artist(s): Dreadnaught
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more