Endless Boogie is one of the few bands that can put out an album, and I will buy it without having to hear it first. There are only a handful of artists I can say that about. In fact, I pre-ordered their newest album Vibe Killer so long ago, that I forgot I pre-ordered and still bought it in store the day it came out. I’ve never done that before. I was that excited for this new album. I’ve written about Endless Boogie on the site before. In that review, I wrote, “If Iggy and the Stooges formed a Canned Heat cover band and got a raving Captain Beefheart in front of the microphone to growl out the lyrics, you’d have something close to Endless Boogie.” I still think that’s the most accurate I can come to describing Endless Boogie. Because I ended up with two copies of this new album, I passed one along to a buddy of mine. He called me the other day and shouted as the record blared in the background, “it sounds like Dr. John heading up a rock band.” I can’t argue with that.
Vibe Killer is Endless Boogie’s fourth album on the No Quarter label. All four albums are like cousins who all look the same. They have their own distinctive traits, but you can tell they are related. The formula hasn’t changed much. The production might be a little cleaner, but the groove is their groove. And that’s what Endless Boogie is the master of: the groove. The opening track which shares the name of the album, is a rhythmic, dirty guitar line covered with lead singer Top Dollar proclaiming in his graveled voice, “I am a vibe killer. It’s little to no use. I am time. You will cease. There is nothing.” It’s like an existentialist version of the Stone’s “Midnight Rambler.”
The second track on the album, “Let it Be Known,” is by far the weakest to me. It’s not the music. I love the shuffle of the drums and the droning wah peddle of the guitar, but the lyric, “Give me a nickel, and I’ll show you Don Rickles” is too obtuse and outdated a reference. I don’t get it. Is he really talking about comedian Don Rickles? Is it a euphemism for his penis? Is it a new drug that all the club kids are into? I have no fucking idea. The album picks back up though with the rockers, “High Drag, Hard Doin’ and “Bishops at Large.” The album really reaches its apex though with “Back in ’72” and “Jefferson County.” The first being an upbeat rocker about the time one of the band members saw Kiss play at a kite flying contest in ’72. And in case you’re wondering, Kiss didn’t even bring their own kites. They were kiteless. The groove is funky and tight, and the story is pretty damn entertaining. The latter is a slow burning rocker, and as the longest song on the album (over eleven minutes), the band really stretches out and plays with the space.
What else can I say? I really dig this album. It’s not highbrow rock. It’s not smart rock. It’s not meant to be. It’s shabby, hypnotic rock. Do yourself a favor and check out Endless Boogie. After a taste, you’ll definitely go into the rest of their catalogue.
Reviewed by Andrew W.