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(Sound King import)
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Is Montreal the next Sweden? Intrepid rock-and-roll bloodhounds will already be familiar with the shaggy-dog stoner punk of Tricky Woo and the internationalist cock rock of Danko Jones, and thereís more where that came from. Top of the heap to these ears are Bionic, whose frontman, a critic for the Montreal Mirror named Jonathan Cummins, discovered Danko a few years back (see Deliveranceís "Political Song for Danko Jones To Sing"). Deliverance finds our cold-blooded brothers to the north fine-tuning a woolly-mammoth wallop that, unlike so many other hirsute howls from the bowels of rockdom, doesnít skimp on hooks. Their bolt-throwing "Ballad of the Electric Brains" kicks as hard as any Queens of the Stone Age hit (secret ingredient: note-for-note cops of Nirvanaís "Breed"); "Nobody To Blame" could be mistaken for Chris Cornell fronting Kyuss, with Turbonegro solos. The molten-metal riff on the opening "Turn You Out" recalls the brief glory days when grunge had bite and singers (Iím thinking of Jesus Lizardís David Yow) screamed their faces off.

Bionicís familiarity with the classics ó Who, Stones, Skynyrd ó elevates "Forty Miles" above the MC5-by-the numbers fare of recent Hellacopters/Bad Wizard efforts; "Bad Times" connects the dots between sweet Southern rockís comforting harmonies and Detroitís stuck-on-the-assembly-line swagger. If youíre looking for the fault line demarcating vintage R&B, hard rock, and punk, you could do worse than "Shake It Annie, Shake It," where Cummins lashes Thin Lizzy licks up against another Nirvana-ish guitar onslaught, gets soul-sanctified religion and leaves a good job in the city, then works up the ghost of his old pop-punk outfit the Doughboys for a Veruca SaltĖencrusted chorus that sends the whole thing rolling on the river. Maybe the most amazing thing about this disc is that though itís been hailed throughout Canada and across Europe, no one in America wants to distribute it. (Itís available on-line through CD Baby and, or through the bandís Web site at Early fans of the Hellacopters, Backyard Babies, Gluecifer, and Turbonegro know the feeling: itís a crime.

(Bionic open for Nashville Pussy this Monday, December 8, at T.T. the Bearís Place, 10 Brookline Street in Kenmore Square; call 617-492-BEAR.)


Issue Date: December 5 - 11, 2003
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