Drunk Horse

In Tongues

Though Drunk Horse is often lumped in with the Sabbath-worshipping stoner-rock hordes that the band's original label, Man's Ruin, was responsible for releasing indiscriminately, the Oakland quartet has always genuflected at the altar of ballsy, Southern-fried boogie. Evoking the chugging tempos and muscular six-string heroics of early ZZ Top, Foghat, and more obscure blues-rock bashers like Cactus, the group maintains its reputation as one of the bay's best exponents of guitarcentric mayhem with its fourth album, In Tongues. Where past efforts sometimes drifted into the "riff in search of a song" dilemma so common among bong jockeys, this latest offering serves up the act's most focused batch of tunes yet. The album rarely strays from the furious pace set by the opening track, "Strange Transgressions," a workout that gets pushed into the red by some blinding slide licks from former nine-string guitar wizard for the Fucking Champs Josh Smith. "Self-Help" and "Vatican Shuffle" offer shades of Thin Lizzy thanks to Eli Eckert's vocal swagger and his adroit melodic interplay with second guitarist Joel Robinow. In Tongues brims with the kind of sounds that scientists during the '70s statistically proved would make teenagers drive at unsafe speeds and shotgun beers in 7-Eleven parking lots.

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