Automatic Midnight

The best rock'n'roll LP of the year so far, then. [B]Speedo[/B]'s resurrection starts here...

We last met John ‘Speedo’ Reis back in 1998 as his previously unimpeachable group, [a]Rocket From The Crypt[/a], sank deep into the conceptual quagmire. Their debut major label album ‘RFTC’ was a slick, one-dimensional affair that unequivocally declared that animals were about to take over the world. They didn’t. And nor did [a]Rocket From The Crypt[/a].

Since then, ‘Speedo’ has gone away and taken stock – and the result is Hot Snakes, a band that sees him reunited with Rick Froberg (his erstwhile partner in battery-acid hardcore band, Drive Like Jehu), and ex-Mule/Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis. ‘Automatic Midnight’ is their first album together, and it’s brilliant – a compressed, wiry and, above all, lethal punk record that dispenses with all excess baggage to leave just the carcass.

With no bass and crispy production, it proves yet again that no-one does rock as well as Americans. There are 11 tracks here, all – apart from ‘Mystery Boy’, which sees Speedo on the mic and the thunderous one-minute instrumental ‘Apartment O’ – are sung by Froberg as if he was filleting cattle while recording them. The music, meanwhile, is equally impassioned: colossal Adam And The Ants beats, pulverising guitar melodies and an aesthetic that draws heavily from San Francisco punk band Crime.

The best rock’n’roll LP of the year so far, then. Speedo‘s resurrection starts here.