There’s a reason they don’t call it “garage rocket science.” The best garage rock is a tossed off pile of distorted guitars, yelped vocals, & maxed out drums. Sometimes you can even hear a bass! St Louis, like every city everywhere, has a garage rock tradition dating back to the mid-60’s (the Aardvarks!), with a new batch of bored kids re-inventing it for themselves every few years.
This year’s bored kid is Brice Baricevic, & his band Rat Heart’s debut 45 has just the right collision of B-Movie & braggadocio that it needs. The lyrics straddle tough guy/dumb guy, the vocals are full of personality (especially on side two’s “Second Encounters”), & the songs are instantly familiar without being cliche. No wheel re-inventing is being done on this record, but these wheels work just fine.
Fifteen years ago (good God, this record came out fifteen years ago!?), the bored (a little older than a) kid was Jeff Hess, & his Geargrinders dropped a garage classic with “I Can’t Pretend.” The heavy wah-wah guitar from post-Fruitcake/pre-Helium Tapes Tim Lohmann added a strong psychedelic edge, too, especially on closing number “Fuzz Grinder.” Somebody should ask Jeff if he still has a box of these somewhere. They’re great! I can’t wait to hear what next year’s bored kid comes up with!
Rat Heart-Second Encounters