Review: REGURGITATOR – HEADROXX

REGURGITATOR: HEADROXX

You don’t get to make nine albums in the music industry by making them all the same. Sometimes it takes artists two or three albums to work this out. Sometimes it takes a couple of EPs. When Regurgitator released their self-titled (or more commonly known as ‘Hamburger’) EP in 1994, it contained five tracks that borrowed, in part, from the alternative sound of the time, but when the distorted guitars were combined with electronica, verbose and sharp-witted lyrics, there was that discovery of something new and edgy that, even if you didn’t quite get, you could dig.

Their first full-length, 1996’s Tu Plang, brought the group into the zeitgeist of the time, delivering the ultimately un-ironic I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am and the pure thrashy venom of F.S.O. a single that would go on to, for a relatively short amount of time, define the sound of Regurgitator.

The following year, the band released Unit with the opening track of I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. This introduced us to the album that would go on to define the group for the following two decades, even though, at the time, the OG fans wanted more of the same.

It proves how much fans know about surviving in the music industry.

When it comes to Regurgitator, there is no ‘old stuff’, there is no ‘new stuff’, there is just ‘The Gurge’ – a band that redefines their brand with every record, but never walks away from why they do it in the first place.

Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks brought the band into the new century with some songs straight out of a rap play-book, before the sugar sweetness of Superstraight. Love and Paranoia introduced a new (albeit temporary) band member in Seja Vogel along with sweet touches of cheesey-pop. 2013’s Dirty Pop Fantasy explored more styles than you can count on one hand and that brings us to HEADROXX, the ninth and possibly most eclectic album of their careers.

The two core and founding members of Regurgitator continue to steer the ship from different angles. Quan Yeomans, guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist comes from a more electro-rap and pop direction, whilst, bassist and vocalist Ben Ely is more likely to explore the punk-rock and thrashier paths of the group. Peter Kostic, on drums arrives for live shows, somehow having pulled all of the pieces together into percussive perfection.

The album starts with a minute of futuristic video game-esque electronica in the title track. Don’t let this experimentation fool you though, Roxx for Brains, the second track on HEADROXX is joyous pop-fueled, classic Gurge – although you get to wondering, did they include this to placate the ‘old stuff’ fans?

The transition between songs is something that stands out on every album. One Quan song, one Ben song. This pattern has always kept it interesting but can make it hard to tell a linear story. Moving from the punky electronica of Grafitti is Coming Alive to the pure Prince-inspired funk of Party Looks can leave you spinning, but you have to look behind the music to understand where the group are coming from, and to find the unique synchronicity that appears, despite the separation during the recording process.

It’s always been the case. Regurgitator are telling you a kind-of fucked up story of the progression of modern life (Thank you, Unit) in their own way and they’re having bloody fun with it. Weird Kind of Hard with a Casiotone-inspired beat and dodgy falsetto singing from a rarely heard Pete Kostic, along with a random scat solo at the end is actually telling a serious story of current day fathering. It’s a refreshing (albeit quirky) Kostic contribution that brings a new dimension to the group.

Quan once again lets his eloquent lyrical talents take the fore with Light Me On Fire. It’s a visceral commentary on society, one that Regurgitator have never shied away from.

Now I’m defined by what I owe/Another prisoner in a beautiful home/Don’t really need this shit, I gotta have it/Sanctioned addiction feeding regulated dirty habits

I Get The Internet ping-pongs around your head in an aural juxtaposition harking back to a time when the Internet wasn’t even a thing whilst singing about algorithms and WiFi. Bouncing back to a ‘Ben’ song, Fortress is a stand-out track on the album – a rough-cut of driving, garage punk that wouldn’t be out of place on a Descendents record.

The cross-section of music that Regurgitator manage to squeeze into one record is not only a homage to the annals of music, it’s delivered with intelligence and the pith of todays society, proving that just because you were a part of the zeitgeist in 1997, twenty-one years later, you can and are still are relevant as you want to be.

HEADROXX is released on the 1st of August via Consume/Valve Records.

3 months ago

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