Stallone: American Baby

Ex-Torche guitarist heads for darker territories

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Sounding like the stuff of nightmares, Stallone’s droptuned, sludgy instrumentals bring to mind the kind of music you might expect to hear accompanying nefarious footage in a grindhouse cinema all-nighter.

Formed by former Torche guitarist Juan Montoya for fun (nothing unusual in that, but given that so many bands now have so many agendas, it bears repeating), their music grew exponentially until it demanded to be heard. And that’s good news for everyone as this six-track EP hosts a mesmerising array of riffs, bullet-heading grinding and, especially in the case of the ambitious-sounding The Battle Of Miami, some delicate instrumental interplay that allows the song room to breathe.

Juan’s lead work is a lesson in how less can be more. Beyond has the kind of walking riff and splashy drum play that Josh Homme built an empire on, and it feels like driving through the desert with the top down. Meanwhile, Venom Hangover is an unrelenting punch to the head, idiosyncratic and with a breakdown that sounds like a police car chase going through piles of empty cardboard boxes. It’s evocative stuff.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.