THE SUBSTITUTES The Exploding Plastic Inevitable TS0030 (2006)
When a reviewer gets a nice, upbeat, personalised covering letter from the band (in this case from Britt Pennella, bass and vocals) it gets things off to a good start.
And opening track 'Taken A Lifetime' gets the album off to a rousing start, too, setting down the band template: American garage band rock 'n' roll rooted in the seventies.
The piledriving vibe continues on 'First Thing I Want' and In The City' with great vocals and guitars that sound like they've been honed and preened on a fat-free Jack Daniels diet.
'Ten Times As Heavy' is aptly-titled, the twin guitars of Joel Proto and Mike McShane to the fore. And to reinforce retro credentials, there's lashings of wah-wah on 'Flower'.
If there's one tiny criticism of this confident debut, there's not a lot of contrast: it's all pretty frenetic from Track 1. Whilst the band fully explore funky and bluesy rock I would have liked to hear them nail a power ballad or two, or at least some mid-tempo light and shade.
Lord knows how the band sustain this energy through a gig. The Substitutes are probably best savoured in a small sweaty bar after a healthy ingestion of Bud. For the less inebriated, we should be thankful that producer Matt Strickland has done an excellent job capturing the band's raunchy, balls-to-the-wall sound.
San Francisco-based, they might not be for too much longer.