Viva la Rock, Fantastico! (Perris)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Feb. 12, 2010
Broken TeethViva la Rock, Fantastico! (Perris)
Peak recording plateaus, a one-time occurrence for most musical acts, are giddy audience worship. Broken Teeth's fifth album since 1999, Viva la Rock, Fantastico! follows up the local hard rock quintet's career high Electric CD in 2007 with even greasier lightning, which given the previous disc's steel horns constitutes the miraculous. Where the oi chant of Electric's "Hangin' by the Skin" signaled the LP's overall tip of the schoolboy cap to Angus Young and AC/DC, Fantastico! rips the same down-'n'-dirty paradigm with sleeker absorption but no less a metallic backstory. Opening slap "Blackheart," for instance, stings with the rhythmic hornet's buzz from an electric version of Big Joe Williams' "Baby, Please Don't Go." Part two of this left/right combo TKOs next on the strength of "Exploder," a bricks-and-mortar rocker seemingly left off the Cult's own Electric. Guitarist Jared Tuten's yank-and-crank riffs throughout VLRF, in tandem with David Beeson, embody the third track's title, "Spitting Nails." "Dressin' Up in Flames" heats its thermostat in the vicinity of mid-1970s Kiss – Dangerous Toys on "Twister," anyone? – while "Break the Spell" conjures The Razors Edge, Flick of the Switch, and Who Made Who, the arena chorus of "Back on the Road" making for another deceptively simple but brilliant Jason McMaster bottom-line lyric ("get your ass back on the road"). Then again, too-pandering sentiment "All Hail the Altar" ("of rock & roll") mishandles an otherwise ripe tempo. Even when a song feels half-baked ("Get Outta Here Alive"), it's less than three minutes. Conversely, a no-frills beater like "Bullet" reaches bull's-eye on gut efficacy and a spot-on solo. The title track gallops too earnest not to elicit grins, particularly given McMaster's Tex-Mex Spanish. Viva la Rock, Fantastico! should end there but continues on two songs, including Too Fast for Love-era Mötley Crüe-ish closer "Ride Upon Glory." Shit may look easy, but it ain't.