These two are totally friggin mental! And that, to paraphrase Martha Stewart, is a good thing. Bantam Roosters debut album of two years ago, Deal Me In, was a raging slab of punk frustration with dangerous backwoods undertones wailed by guitarist/howler T. Jackson Potter and drummer Eric Cook. They were a duo then, as Bantam Roosters a duo now, but between Potters seemingly four-handed guitar attack and Cooks tight, controlled bash spasms, Bantam Rooster hit like a gang. All of this context leads up to the unbelievable conclusion that The Cross and the Switchblade, the duos second LP and Cooks last document with the band (his seats since been more-than-ably filled by Speedball skin-smacker Mike Alonso) is an even rowdier, darker, more powerful garage-via-back-alley cat.
Desperations always been close to the core of Potters lyrical look at life, but the notched-up fever in his voice isnt the only thing conspiring to jar you from your senses here. With all of the above-mentioned aggression, I hope Im not doubling back on myself when I say that the songs are perhaps even more melodic on this outing. Its not all wail and fury. Classic punk, R&B, rockabilly and metal licks are all processed through Potters guitar and come out the other side as damn fine bits of songwriting. Add to that a bigger "sound" in general to the proceedings and the addition of guest artist Jim Diamond and his bluesy organ chops and the super-sizing is complete.
Frantic, pained, compulsive, addictive and just plain rocked out, Bantam Rooster make catharsis sound better than you ever suspected.
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