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Red Giant : Devil Child Blues

"You are holding the definitive space punk album." Such is the large claim made by Red Giant in the liner notes of their 1995 album 'Psychoblaster and the Misuse of Power'. And they may very well have been right, at least for the time. There seem to be various opinions floating around these days about the group and whether they're still putting out space rock, or messed-up garage rock, or just what. I think the truth is somewhere close to this: They mix up a load of various elements, including , Detroit ca. 1970, 'Sabbath, Soundgarden, and general punkiness, and it all morphs and changes according to what they're into at the time. Red Giant's music may slide back and forth between these various poles, but that 10-year-old quote still holds water. The fact that their music rides a consistent (though varied) continuum is starkly underlined by the Cosmic Welder or Psychoblaster character that appears on all of their covers. This time he's ably executed in samurai style by Mike Saputo, who's done a very nice job with several Small Stone labelmates such as Halfway to Gone and The Glasspack.

The group rose above their native Cleveland, Ohio underground with the release of 1999's 'Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound'. Perhaps their most effects-laden recording, it put them on the map as an idiosyncratic space rock band rife with Detroit elements. There was a definite mix of opinion on the success of the recording: some still swear by it while others couldn't stand it. One of its most interesting characteristics was The 'Giant's ability to create abrasive music in even the quietest passages, making the record surprisingly "difficult." There was no question, however, that the band pioneered some interesting territory, even if the disc's sound quality was rather distractingly constricted. I preached the Red Giant gospel to any that would listen, and when the chance came to see them at SHOD 2 I jumped at it, even tracking down Alex for a copy of 'Psychoblaster...' on tape during one of their notoriously fast load-outs. Oh, and they were killer live!

After five long years the group is finally back. The first thing you'll notice is that the sound is much more full, rich, and powerful. The second thing is that the music is much more driving and to-the-point, emphasizing the Detroit hotrod aspect of their music, but in no way forgetting the 'Sabbath and Hawkwind elements either, as represented by their trademark structural and rhythmic changeups. Yeah, you're getting Red Giant alright, kicking ass like never before, but unmistakable with Chris' vastly underrated precision drumming driving Alex, Brian, and Damien's heavy, fluid guitar work and Alex's 70s vocal mannerisms. 'White Mom' stands out as one of their best tracks ever, and illustrates all of this in the best possible light. 'Millennium Falcon', a remake of 'Millennium Falcon 27th Dimension' from 'Psychoblaster...' returns us to space and is a marked improvement over the original. The last song, 'Funhouse' reminds us of their Detroit roots with a nice cover that respects the original Iggy Pop monsterpiece without slavishly imitating it.

Perhaps the best way to characterize the group would be "trippy", but not in any wussy, ethereal way. This is intelligent, dirty, hard-driving psychedelia that hits you like a renegade '72 Chevelle knocking geriatrics down like bowling pins at a shuffleboard tournament. It’s never too early to give the gift of music, and I think 'Devil Child Blues' would be a splendid addition to the holiday gift list of any right-thinking degenerate. And although I don't usually hijack reviews for my own nefarious purposes, I'll do so here: If anyone out there has Cambodia label CD recordings of 'Psychoblaster...' or 'Ultra-Magnetic...', PLEASE get in contact with me ASAP. [edit by admin.: This review is several years old so Kevin is likely to have gotten hold of what he wanted by now.]

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. White Mom
2. Jetpack
3. Devil Child Blues
4. Hoping for the Golden BB
5. I Breathe Fire
6. (How Ya Doin' on that) Time Machine
7. John L. Sullivan
8. Go it Alone
9. Drip
10. Millennium Falcon
11. Funhouse

Duration : Approx. 50 minutes.

Visit the Red Giant bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
Forever Autumn
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