You know. You know as soon as you hit play that you’re on a foot-to-the-floor, white knuckle joyride, as Soldiers Of Fortune take the wheel in a high-velocity freeway cruise, and they are sure not taking any prisoners. ‘Nails‘ clatters along with the thunderous groove of George Thorogood‘s ‘Gearjammer‘, relentless and unforgiving, as heavy as Black Sabbath but as accessible as something from the pen of Dave Grohl. This is a one-way trip to Fuzz City, baby, and there’s no way in hell you’re getting off.
Formed just over a decade ago, as a bunch of revolutionary anti-heroes who were “never gonna write songs, never gonna practice, never gonna record music, make any product for public consumption or ever hit the road“, this is something of an about turn for our irrepressible insubordinates. The reason for this volte-face is one Keith Abrahamsson, who hassled and harried them a couple of times a year until they caved in upon learning of the “limited pressings, the eclectic roster, the HEAVY VINYL, the obscure re-issues” of Keith’s label, Mexican Summer. Cutting a rather lengthy story short, the result is Early Risers.
After the ferocious onslaught of ‘Nails‘, we appear to be handed some respite, at first, by the Jack White like melody of ‘Cinnamon Man‘, but there’s no time to relax, as we’re grabbed by the gonads once more and forced to dance by the ferocious bluster of ‘Campus Swagger‘ like gunshots at our feet. Comparable to Richard Hell performing archetypal rock ‘n’ roll, it is, once more exciting, exhausting and exhilarating – a situation that is furthered still with the ear-splitting capacity of ‘Dog Tooth Town‘.
Soldiers Of Fortune, though, are anything but a one-trick pony, as evinced by the moody, spoken word ‘Santa Monica‘, which begins as a restrained blues number but develops into a Grateful Dead style wigout that is equally as powerful as any of the album’s rowdier aggressors.
Don’t let me mislead you into thinking Early Risers is anything but a riot, though. It’s a joyous cacophony of noise throughout, and I can’t wait for its follow-up, probably scheduled for around 2030, knowing them.
Wow, I didn’t even have to mention the involvement of Stephen Malkmus, Cass McCombs or Interpol‘s Brad Traux. THAT’S how strong this album is.