Their singer is a tattooed centerfold, the lead guitarist calls himself Elvis Christ, and the drummer drinks so much whiskey it became his last name. All of this and a predilection for raunch and dingy weekly-rate violence (“I had to superglue your wounds shut …”) means Seattle’s Go Like Hell are automatic heroes to the amoral majority. And yet, the band’s cynical grindhouse aesthetic doesn’t fully transfer on Hell Bent Rock ’n’ Roll, their debut full-length. Alexi Void is a capable vocalist, upturning the ends of her X-rated girl-power couplets to make every line a challenge. And “Lucky Me,” “Quick Jerkin’” and “Hotter Than Love” whip up crossfire hurricanes of punk-infused hard rock. But while they’re loud, proud and defiant, Go Like Hell won’t win the Most Unique Guest prize at the next gutter rock party. “Feedbag and Fistfights” and the title track get into a gritty ready stance, but never attack — they don’t find that particular dirty melody, cutting hook or baiting vocal to elevate out of the garage-land pack. This point’s probably void in an appropriately raucous live setting. But Go Like Hell don’t bend the jail bars far enough on this encouraging, yet lacking debut.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com.
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