I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t love Ruby the Hatchet’s Tee Pee Records debut. Sure they captured the sound of the 70’s… by adequately aping 17 other bands that are bringing the 70’s back. My biggest beef was that they didn’t bring anything new to the table, and seeing them open for Uncle Acid last September did little to sway my opinion.
So, why am I even listening to this new record, then? Well, for one thing, it’s not a new record, but rather an old one, a rereleased version of their proper debut from 2012. I suppose on some level I’m curious to hear what they sounded like before all the hype, which I thought was somewhat excessive. But I guess I’m really just trying to dig deeper, and see if there’s any layers of authenticity to this latest “retro rock” buzz band. Nowadays, when you’ve got outfits from Italy with names like Psychedelic Witchcraft crapping out some of the most generic “occult doom” this side of Oregon… I guess I’m just trying to see if there’s something real here.
Ouroboros gets off to a fairly fuzzy start, with “Taking Sides” sounding like a crunchier Hawkwind single. I kinda like what they do with the drums in the chorus, although the repeatedly chanted “Hey’s” are somewhat mind-numbing. Couldn’t they come up with a chorus that actually included words? I really like the grooves that kick in around the 2:30 mark, mind you…
“Black Tongue” begins with some pretty tasty riffage, though the stop-start verse is rather cumbersome. Decent chorus, though again fairly repetitive—she says “Black Tongue” four times in a row. The next couple tracks are free of any occult rock trappings; this is fairly generic blues/fuzz rock, but on the plus side, there’s no Satanic schlock here. I can dig the organ and vocal melodies of “Holy Father,” and the more melodic, post-grunge vibe of “Nowhere,” which is subtler than some of the cuts here.
I still don’t think this is a great record, but for what it’s worth, I prefer it to their more recent one.