Plainride - Return of the Jackalope - (8.5/10)
Published on April 25, 2017
On a personal level, one of the issues in contemporary heavy music is the lack of any real mythology or stories that get passed on through the ages. Lemmy’s firing from Hawkwind and all those tour tales, Ozzy Zig Needs a Gig (and the bat-head munchies), all the notoriety behind the second wave of black metal; since the internet has kicked off it has stolen and/or debunked those much needed fantasies that once fuelled the genre. So when a band with an origin story as far-out as Plainride rolls on out of the German hills, ears begin to attentively pick up…before they hunt you down with a bullet between the eyes! As debut album gets the (re)release it deserves on Ripple Music the question remains: does the music on Return of the Jackalope match their incredibly eccentric tale? The short answer is yes, the slightly longer answer is absolutely!
An heir to a vast fortune, a street orphan, he who was unsatisfyingly raised by clerics in a monastery, and a deserter facing his destiny (all of whom use guitar strings as dental floss) came together to form a quartet enveloped in the sounds of the American Midwest fuelled by their love of ‘70s rock’n’roll and beer. The sounds that emanate from the speakers are definitely soaked in some kind of alcoholic beverage, culminating in pillars of Clutch, Orange Goblin and Fu Manchu willing the primitive rockers out of those who stand in attendance and engages them with seriously heavy and flawless music beyond their years. Given how this album came together barely a couple of years after forming, it’s staggering to think how music of this calibre exists from those so young! From start to finish Return of the Jackalope is an unrelenting ride of speed, riffs, and enough fuzz to make your beard grow exponentially, the beer-soaked vocals bellow tales of Dodge Challengers, a certain consumable we all love, and the rarest creature in the land. It’s all fun and games until someone eventually passes out from having too much fun!
There is something for everyone embedded in its sixty-two minute runtime, bookended by the uproarious ‘Challenger ‘69’ and the sound-barrier-breaking ‘Warpdrive’. From the outlaw rock’n’roll masked as the ultimate driving song title track and the Mexican standoff that is ‘Vengeance’ to the furious rhythmic cool of the all-important ‘Beermachine’ and the Kyuss-infused eagle going by the name of ‘Dog’ – everything here exudes prowess and master-craftsmanship whilst continually being louder than many of their contemporaries. What’s more important than those good-time vibes is the sense that the band genuinely believes in the fun they are having; you can hear it in every note around every turn of this hairy beast of a record! Even on the more profound pieces (the term being used lightly) like ‘The Grailknights’ kick serious butt, though not quite as much as the ball-busting heaviness of ‘(The Beards of) Mt. Rushmore’ that carries all the power of a mighty canyon-carving river – this is a song even the mightiest can be thankful for.
When albums this heavy and rockin’ come along, the ground around you shakes and rocks break free from their foundations. Now that Ripple Music has caught the Plainride fever it can finally be heard beyond our little rock in space, moving cosmic mountain just as has been done on Earth. It’s always a bold move when a band carves their own portrait onto the cliff-face but in this case it just makes the music sound ten-times more awesome than what it would have done without it, though this still would have been respectively incredible. Their personas may dwarf their mortal vessels but this is matched by both volume and craft. Best enjoyed with a refreshing beverage of your choice!