The last album with Terry Knight producing shows the band stretching out, but then taking another shot at replicating the freak success of “D.O.A.”.
With the record business being the way it was back in the early 70’s, this album came out maybe five to six months after the previous one – in another words, right on the heels of Bloodrock 2 – so, just in case you forgot about dripping blood last time, then check out this rather perverse cover!
Now people barely blink an eye at this sort of thing, but back in 1971 an album cover like this – which could be construed as America-bashing – got you pegged as anti-social from the jump.
Not that the guys in Bloodrock had any say in that sort of thing. Remember, they worked for Capitol Records, and furthermore, Terry Knight produced their records, so…if bloody album covers and “D.O.A.” could sell a bunch of records, then why not a dripping blood American flag-themed album cover?
Well, so much for that gibberish. Onto the album itself, which is decent, and maybe a track or two here are among the best things the band has ever cut. But some other tracks disappoint a bit as well.
There are only eight tracks – four songs a side – and the material is relatively lengthy on the average. “Jessica” is the opener and I believe it may have been a Nitzinger-penned tune. We venture into a slightly new world here for the band – creepy cocktail jazz rock, with Rutledge crooning “Jessica, I think your nose is cold” like a demon. What a bizarre track!
This could only be followed by – you guessed it – “Whiskey Vengeance”, which snaps along for a little over four minutes powered by Hill’s powerful keyboards, and Rutledge’s howling.
But then the band takes a left turn, deciding to plunge the depths of their sensitivity training manuals in “Song for a Brother”, which is all sorts of singer/songwriter/jazz, but you know what? Somehow it does not manage to completely embarrass anyone, even though the streak of glorious evil has been completely interrupted by this touchy-feely BS.
Next is “You Gotta Roll”, which is usually cited by people as ham-handed boogie rock. I find it to be a garish tapestry woven together to hide what is usually a consistent thread in many a Bloodrock track – it’s Us versus The Man, like it or not. The usual Hill/Pickens interplay is in place, and Pickens ends the track with special aplomb. Highly recommended.
The second side begins with a major step back – “Breach of Lease” – which was basically the direct follow-up to “D.O.A.”, but re-shaped in a socio-political sense. As in – now The Man has crossed the line, and we are all going to pay the price as a result. Technically, the mid-section is where the track is at its’ most intense, where Pickens’ solos against the lonely sounding rhythm guitar riff.
“Lease” is not bad, per se, but it does run a slight bit longer than “D.O.A.”, and coming directly on its’ heels, it does feel a bit like you are being lectured to…which is weird, because why is Bloodrock, of all bands, lecturing anyone on anything in particular?
Let’s move on to “Kool-Aid-Kids”, which is most likely the best track on this album. This one sounds kind of jazzy, a bit of progressive rock, a bit of heavy psych – hell, you hear a bit of everything played on this album, up to this point, on in this one track.
Who knows who the “Kool-Aid-Kids” are, and who cares, really, other than it is more absurdist BS from the mind of Nitzinger, most likely. This track really cooks, and cooks fast and hard – except when it hits the slow and dreamy midsection which is all druggy and hazy – then goes back to the flashy fast parts.
The rest of the album is padded out by a cover of The Soft Machine’s “A Certain Kind” – which is turned into a vague, hazy/mushy mish-mash – and a really brief acoustic run-out called “America, America”, where you get a measure of just how much frustration was welling up within this outfit.
The machine rolls on, for the most part, with some mishaps, but on the average, this is fairly intriguing stuff. Extra flair included. And it gets better from here.