Endless Boogie
"Focus Level"

(No Quarter Records 2008)Endless Boogie - Focus Level

Imagine it is 1973. You've just seen a pre-fame ZZ Top finish their raucous set at the local bar. As the locals are clearing out of the dark, smoky room at 2 AM another band takes the stage and jams into the early morning as chairs are turned over on table tops and cigarette butts are swept off the floor. Who is that band? In my imagination, that band would be New York's Endless Boogie. Their first major release, "Focus Level," comprises ten songs, most of them longish slow to mid-tempo blues rock jams with more than a tinge of psychedelia (constant driving drum beats, repetitive riffs, and occasional wah-wah pedal'd guitar).

The record opens with "Smoking Figs in the Yard," a song with lyrics about having a typical backyard barbecue with some friends and, of course, smoking from a hookah filled with fig tobacco. The driving rhythm is reminiscent of Hawkwind songs such as "Brainstorm," but with a country-fried flavor. Singing on the album is sparse, but when it's there the singing is guttural and the lyrics are often unintelligible ramblings, or mysterious, such as on the second track, "The Manly Vibe" where the singer is growling, "I'm guilty. Guilty! Down in the basement…" Endless Boogie is a two-guitar band, and the guitars play off of each other well. At times, the songs play out like an extended Rolling Stones jam ("Low-lifes") -- something you'd hear at an outdoor festival in the '70s -- while other times the guitar lick phrasing is in bursts, reminiscent of Albert King (but without the deeply bent notes) or Kim Simmonds. The songs are repetitive enough that they get into your head. I don't mean the songs get stuck in your head, I mean they can carry your mind off while listening, particularly in songs like "Gimme the Awesome."

On "Focus Level" you won't really hear any new beats, riffs, or chords that you haven't heard in some form before. That could be a disappointment, but it's not the sound that is new, but rather the way it is put together that makes it fresh. Endless Boogie's "Focus Level" is a record you can keep right between to your Captain Beefheart and Savoy Brown records.

A

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