The Atomic Bitchwax is back with 12 new tracks on this, their seventh studio album. The band that brought us such classic burners as “Birth to the Earth,” “Shitkicker” and “Hope You Die” is heavy on the riffs and the drug references on here. Toke ‘em if you got ‘em!
In stark contrast to many an overly lengthy stoner-hippie jam band, it’s worth noting that only one song on Force Field is longer than three minutes and 15 seconds. “Hippie Speedball” kicks things off, a decent little up-tempo number that’s all over in under 2:30. “Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be)” is a driving, mid-tempo tune with a catchy chorus that kinda reminds me of Clutch. I really dig the leadoff riff on “Alaskan Thunder Fuck,” which combines with a stop-start verse for a rather groovy concoction. At 3:47, it’s the longest song on the entire album, complete with a killer guitar solo!
Elsewhere, the band leans heavily on the wah pedal for “Fried, Dyed and Layin’ to the Side,” while “Tits and Bones” throws an up-tempo Electric Magma bass line and a stop-start chorus into the mix. “Super Highway” makes use of some double-tracked vocals, and a repeated “Yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain before “Live a Little” slows things down slightly, employing a heavily distorted vocal and a hockey-rink organ on what might be the standout track, right at the end.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these songs, but with two of my three favourite Bitchwax numbers being a little slower, I’m not sure I necessarily want to hear them play the entire album at shitkicker speed.