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Gorilla – Treecreeper Award winner

by Dave Nowels at 16 July 2019, 3:47 PM

Hailing from Walmington-on-sea and coming to your speakers via Heavy Psych Sounds is the mighty GORILLA. I had a former boss that would use the term, “there's a light at the end of the tunnel, lets hope it's not a gorilla with a flashlight”. Well, this time it's just that. The band's new album “Treecreeper” is that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it's definitely a GORILLA with a flashlight, and a shit-eating grin.

Somehow, “Treecreeper” is my first exposure to GORILLA despite the bands beginnings in the late 90's. I don't know exactly how they avoided my radar for so long, but I'm pretty chuffed about it. The band's sound is an organic cacophony  blending the influences of some of my favorite bands of days past. MOTORHEAD, BLUE CHEER, MC5, STOOGES, BUDGIE etc, etc. Indeed, guitarist and vocalist Johnny Gorilla, absolutely channels a Lemmy Kilmister vibe with his vocals on the the first three tracks. In fact, the first track of the album, “Scum of the Earth” sounds as though it could have easily come from the later MOTORHEAD catalog, musically, vocally and lyrically. Yet, the song still manages to maintain quite the sway of originality, and I found that damn impressive. “Cyclops” queues up next, and slows down the pace a bit, while drenching us sonically with a bit more of a “trippy' approach. Still, when the power breaks out, it's raw, unfiltered and powerful. It's a really nice contrast.

There's nothing overly fancy schmancy happening here, so don't expect it. These songs are feedback powered, riff driven and executed defiantly. That's not to say they're amateurish, or lacking in talent, not one bit. Johnny Gorilla's guitar playing made me think more than once about “Fast” Eddie Clark, Wayne Kramer, or even Thurston Moore. Raw ability and passion over polished technicality. Sarah Jane's basslines really jump out , and there's a good reason to not hide her playing in the mix; she might as well be adding another guitar role, just one that's tuned down……way down. Her runs really add a lot of substance while anchoring and accentuating Ryan Matthews impressive percussion work.  Just take a listen to “Gorilla Time Rock n Roll” and the title track, “Treecreeper”. Standout performances to be sure.

One of the things I liked most about “Treecreeper” was the album's flow. Never did the album become complacent or mundane. Sure, there were tracks that shared similarities, but he band did an excellent job at spreading those tracks out. Track 7, “Terror Trip” and track 8, “Last In Line” sound nothing alike really, but they absolutely still sound like GORILLA. I enjoyed the album as a whole, but highlights for me were, “Cyclops”, “Mad Dog”, “Ringo Dingo” and the title track. Look, there's nothing really groundbreaking happening here, and it really didn't need to be. It's heavy music played heavy as fuck in a take no prisoners approach. It's a good time, a piqued my interest in checking out the band's back catalog. I'd call that a mission accomplished.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Scum of the Earth
2. Psyclops
3. Gorilla Time Rock n Roll
4. Treecreeper
5. Mad Dog
6. Ringo Dingo
7. Terror Trip
8. Last In Line
9. Killer Gorilla
Johnny Gorilla – Guitar, Vocals
Sarah Jane – Bass
Ryan Matthews - Drums
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds


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