Beloved Red Bank hard rockers Monster Magnet return with one of their most fun commentary albums to date, “Mindfucker,” a covert statement about how we’re all fucked if we don’t put our minds together to make things better.
Are you a fan of MC5, The Stooges, Hawkwind and Kiss? Then Monster Magnet’s new LP, Mindfucker, is your jam.
On their 10th studio album and latest since 2013’s Last Patrol, the veteran Red Bank-based hard-rock band have some meaningful fun paying homage to those influences, while also depicting the world gone mad, particularly on the Kiss-like title track, a 21st century cross between “Love Gun” and the Stones’ “Star Star.”
Anchored by thick slabs of rhythm from drummer Bob Pantella and bassist Chris Kosnik and a propelled by the ginormous guitar work of Phil Caivano and Garrett Sweeny, Monster Magnet blast their brand of madness right from the get-go with the frenzied opener, “Rocket Freak.” The combustible tune lives up to its title by lighting ablaze a tower of sonic sludge until its climatic end. The intensity continues on the second track, “Soul,” which finds founding frontman Dave Wyndorf delivering a particularly soulful vocal.
The pace briefly slows with a great spoken word intro that prefaces the explosive but textured “I’m God,” an overt nod to the Detroit rock of MC5 and The Stooges with Wyndorf at his most invincible, as is the case with a mighty cover of Hawkwind’s “Ejection,” which could be the 61-year-old rocker’s autobiography. The rocket-fueled tune features one of my favorite lines on the record: “I’m too fast to die.”
What makes Mindfucker really interesting is the range of characters detailed. While “I’m God” and “Ejection” push the needle toward invincible, “Brainwashed” presents a Wyndorf character at his most vulnerable after seemingly being dosed until his face is “melting in the mirror.”
I also really like “Drowning,” perhaps the best written song on Mindfucker. The dynamic track starts out slowly with a great, eerie vocal within slow-burning verses that creep into blasting choruses and a wanna-be happy ending. Among the song’s great lyrics are the lines, “I could get paid for a thousand days and I’d still be begging at night” and “How much are happy endings? Can I buy you that moon up in the sky?”
I also really like “All Day Midnight,” a fat, ’60s-inspired blues in the spirit of Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer that traces the roots of rock right before heavy blues became heavy metal.
Check out Mindfucker live on March 29 at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, March 30 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville and March 31 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia before Monster Magnet jet over to Europe to tour throughout April into early May. An extensive U.S. fall tour will follow, but first check out an interview with Wyndorf next week, right here in Makin Waves.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And like Makin Waves at facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.