You want dirty? We’ve got dirty. We’ve got a multi-tiered cake of the filthiest blues-rock in Indiana, USA. Not to mention some of the more charismatic. Nestled somewhere between the raw, mad Robert Johnson blues of the Graveltones and the heavy Southern fuzz of The Cadillac Three – plus the spiky, modern cool of both – Left Lane Cruiser have steadily carved a scuzzy yet groovy addition to present-day rootsy music. The latest result of which can now be yours.
The title of their eighth LP is a good one: if a dirty spliff (or just someone who’d smoked a fat one) was somehow turned into music, having been dragged through a swamp, it would sound like this. Brandishing guitar, drums, bass and skateboard (yes, a skateboard, as an instrument) the hirsute trio have channelled their DIY ethic into a big, barrelling plate of burly distortion, hillbilly drawl and loveably hulking grooves. A button-pusher for blues lovers, roots types and fuzzy hard rockers.
Things open in muscular style with the chunky, country-fuzz boogie of Tres Borrachos (translation: ‘Three Drunkards’). Old bluegrass sings through in Elephant Stomp, and the likes of Tangled Up In Bush cross-breed wild slide guitar screams with old demonic bluesman howls. It screams Mississippi country-blues – if those old legends were reincarnated as young, present-day rebels. Rather how we’d imagine the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, put through a mincer, or set in a punk club.
Elsewhere we see a hazy, almost stoner-ish weight in All Damn Day, before Skateboard Blues brings us back to…well, the blues. In a grizzled, saturated sort of way. Enough to convince you that a whiskey-drenched, hillbilly blues-punk way of life is the best one. Production values are perkily lo-fi but packed with characterful weight.
If you like ZZ Top (at their most unrefined), if you like the almost haunting atmosphere of backwoods blues, and especially if the idea of these things merged together appeals, Left Lane Cruiser are well worth your attention.