I first got turned onto Frankie And The Witch Fingers around 2018 when discussing heavy, garage-y, psych-rock with one of my clients. He was really into them and encouraged me to check them out, which I did, snatching their debut Sidewalk, and their 2016 release Heavy Roller off their Bandcamp page. I dug both well enough and routinely added them to various playlists, but neither truly made a real impact on my rock and roll consciousness.
Well, that has changed with their latest LP Data Doom, the Bloomington Indiana-by-way-of Los Angeles outfit has dropped a true rock and roll barn burner that any fan of garage punk, and heavy psych should absolutely love. Take opener Empire, which initially disguises itself as a charging, fuzz fest, that winds up morphing into a clean-tone quasi-funky ripper featuring some stellar noodling from founder, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dylan Sizemore along with lead guitarist and saxophonist Josh Menashe that’s accentuated with some well-placed brass blasts, which will undoubtedly have the listener shaking their ass in no time.
However, we’re just getting started as the aptly named Burn Me Down, a punked-up, downstroke clinic which is catchy as hell, featuring more sax-blasts and plenty of distorted shred, will leave the listener feeling as though they’ve literally been burned down by Frankie And The Witch Fingers unrelenting rock and roll attack.
Speaking of downstrokes, Electricide is another incendiary blast of punky, garage mayhem that eventually descends into a grimy, fuzzy, riff monster with an impeccable tone recalling the best of the legendary Ron Asheton. While we’re mentioning iconic guitarists, it’s not hard to imagine that Sizemore and Menashe weren’t vibing on ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons riff from Precious And Grace off 1973’s Tres Hombres, on Syster System as the main riff is almost note-for note. Not to say Syster System is a direct bite as the body of the song is way weirder than anything the Texas legends have done. In addition, Syster System eventually evolves into a faster-paced, sax-drenched freak-out, before dropping back into that Gibbons-esque riff.
This is a garage rock, heavy psych and rock and roll master stroke of the highest order…
The band then proceed to bring the funk on Weird Dog, an amped-up crazy, sax-blasted, catchy, stop-start, garage punk burner, that is one of the many highlights on Data Doom. The mood drops into a less frenetic vibe with the synth-imbued Doom Broom, a quirky, funky, greasy-riff affair, that’s complemented by melodious vocal stylings. Another highlight in an album full of them, and probably my favorite track is Futurephobic which sounds like New York punk legend Alan Vega’s synth-driven Suicide meets the eccentric rock and roll riffage of The Butthole Surfers Paul Leary. This track is killer, catchy and weird, with the unstoppable riff in the main body of the song burrowing itself into the listener’s consciousness.
The penultimate, and fantastically titled Mild Davis, evidently an homage to Miles Davis’ early ‘70s improvisational, funk-psych-freakouts, does its job well. This track is all over the place, in a good way, just like Miles Davis’ albums like Bitches Brew and On The Corner, but of course, Sizemore and Menashe add their patented garage-psych riffage and shred to the proceedings, making it all their own.
Closer, Political Cannibalism features plenty of garage-funk downstroke awesomeness, as well as trippy synth noises and some cool, soaring vocal shenanigans. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the rhythm section of bassist Nikki Pickle and new drummer Nick Aguilar as they both do an impeccable job of holding down the low end, thus allowing Sizemore, and Menashe, to riff, noodle, and engage in sax-blasts and synth freakouts to their hearts content.
To put it simply, Data Doom fucking rules. This is a garage rock, heavy psych and rock and roll master stroke of the highest order. The weirdness is deftly complimented by the funky downstrokes and melodic vocal deliveries, to say nothing of the exemplary, grimy, fuzzed-the-fuck-out guitar tones. I’ve listened to this record over and over and can definitely say it’ll find itself among the very top of my year end list. Emphatically recommended.
Scribed by: Martin Williams