Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Nuclear Bird — Tyrannical Megalomaniac
(Bandcamp no#, 2021, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2021-10-01
Atomic Rooster is one of the best examples of 70s rock where organ is the main lead instrument. Vincent Crane’s powerful sound drove the band to energetic heights, and at their best the fierce sound was quite impressive. Mark Murdock is a musician based in Tokyo who is very enamored of the Rooster sound, and there are references and inspirations aplenty in the debut release of Nuclear Bird. Murdock plays organ (of course) along with piano and bass, and also handles the drums on a couple tracks. Four of the eight tracks feature special guest Ric Parnell, who played drums with Atomic Rooster on Made in England and Nice ‘n’ Greasy. Other contributors are Tim Pepper (lead vocals), Ken Hall (guitar), and Jon Berger (drums on two tracks). The album title, Tyrannical Megalomaniac, was apparently a nickname of Crane, and it’s easy to read other references in the song titles: “The Revolving Door” could refer to the near-constant personnel changes in Atomic Rooster, and “Fascination with the Afterlife” could be related to Crane’s many songs about death. While I’ll give Murdock props for capturing many of the elements of Atomic Rooster’s style, where he fails to my ears is the clean tone on his organ. Crane’s sound was almost a little distorted, overdriven, and a little crunchy, but Murdock sounds very tame and polite in comparison. I can’t really fault his technique or his compositions, but the energy level seems a bit low for the intended purpose. Several tracks include some nifty lines that would really take flight with a more aggressive tone. So on the whole, I’ll say Tyrannical Megalomaniac is a worthy effort, but falls well short of its intended target.
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