Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Naked Heroes - 99 Diamond

I was all set not to like the Naked Heroes. A male/female, guitar/drum duo from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn reminded me a little bit too much of my least favorite bands of the past decade, but I’m pleased to admit I was wrong. Their debut album 99 Diamond is loud, dirty, fun rock & roll with no unpleasant hipster aftertaste. I think the first thing that won me over is the guitarist/singer’s name – George Michael Jackson. No one in their right mind would pick that stage name. Drummer Merica Lee has a pretty cool name, too, but I’m not sure if it’s an alias or not

Naked Heroes play an enthusiastic mix of ZZ Top boogie and Cramps trashiness. The title track opens the album with a Bo Diddley groove and a big call & response chorus that will be stuck in your head for a long time whether you like it or not. “Black Dress” is a total “La Grange” rip off but that’s never a problem for me. I’m sure these guys like John Lee Hooker just as much as Billy Gibbons does. George Michael Jackson’s guitar tone is very dirty with some nice reverb underneath to help fill out the sound. As a singer he sounds kinda like Molly Hatchet’s Danny Joe Brown lifting up huge pieces of farm equipment. Merica Lee pounds out a heavy beat that keeps the groove swinging and moving forward.

Slow burner “Double Chin” is like the best parts of Led Zep’s “How Many More Times” boiled down into 3 and a half minutes. Other stand outs are the uptempo jams “Sheila,” “Opposable Thumb” and “Sophisticated Meat Machine” (excellent title). To keep things interesting they throw in some other slow ones like “The Goonhand” and “Feel Me Slide.” The CD-only bonus track “Under The Hood” sounds almost like The Sonics covering UFO’s “Natural Thing.”

The album is short, clocking in around half an hour, which is a good thing. They do a good job of filling out the sound as a 2 piece but if it went on any longer, monotony might set in. Personally I’d love to hear what they’d sound like with a bass player or maybe a 2nd guitarist doing the Bryan Gregory/Kid Congo fuzzed out Cramps thing, but for now I can hang with this. So can you.

--Woody

buy here: 99 Diamond

http://thenakedheroes.com/

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