In an era of disposable pop icons, Cleveland's Suede Brothers specialize in an unfettered brand of fuzzed out power trio bombast. The Night, officially released on December 30, 2010, pays homage to psychedelic blues-rock innovators Blue Cheer, with a heavy nod to Black Sabbath. Lead singer/guitarist Dylan Francis dials up the distortion with gratuitous riffing and vocals akin to Sabbath-era Ozzy filtered through Jack White, while bassist Kevin Naughton and drummer Mike Varga provide a thunderous spine to it all. And while the music may sound anachronistic, the lyrics are rife with North Coast imagery and sensibility, making for a collection of 10 uniquely steely songs.
The Night was recorded at legendary Painesville, Ohio, Suma Recording Studio, opened in the late 1970s by engineer guru Paul Hamann and used to record the Black Keys' fifth LP, Attack & Release.
"Coos Bay Boogie" opens the record with a blunt force, headbanging groove that sustains for more than four minutes of churning blues-based braggadocio. The tidal wave of tube amps continues on "Prospect and 9th," which will find favor among fans of throwback metal contemporaries The Sword. Francis sings: Well, the wind blows cold today now / off of Erie's southern shore / got to get together / got to get a little more; the musical backdrop is a towering chug of layered riffs and open–high hat drum work that echoes the tough, unrelenting spirit of hardworking NEO denizens.
The title track's lead verse riff owes much to Tony Iommi's staccato "Fairies Wear Boots" chord progression, though the chorus drifts into more immediately melodic territory before giving way to restrained lead guitar lines.
At six minutes, "Forest City" is the album's longest track. From the lone bass intro, through verses and choruses, to interludes and solos, it features a concise catalog of the band's more histrionic tendencies. The lyrics speak to cold winds, burning rivers and finding hope. It's a fitting bookend to a record that sprang from a Midwest reality.
Suede Brothers play the Grog Shop on March 11.
LISTEN: Suede Brothers – "Coos Bay Boogie"