Yeah I know I’m in a band on the same label as these guys but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think this bunch of lobotomised chimps are any good now does it? For the record, I do…and I did long before we were label mates right back to the birth of their previous album “In Drug City” which proved to be a raw, uncultured blast through rock and roll’s dark history whilst under the influence of a truck load of narcotics.
The band describes their sound as “Black Flag Railroad”…and that’s pretty accurate. Imagine it’s the year 1973 and Grand Funk Railroad have inadvertently discovered hardcore punk. Not wanting to fuck up their lavish rock star lifestyles they decide to find a willing group of slightly retarded, stoned teenagers and teach them to play this new sound…that band would be Mighty High…except they’re far from being teenagers and this is 2012…the rest of the description remains pretty accurate.
Kicking off with the barely-scraping-a-minute blast of “I Don’t Wanna Listen To Yes” it’s clear that, despite line-up changes this is very much business as usual for Mighty High…raw, in your face punk meets 70’s boogie rock and roll. Any song that features the line “I don’t wanna fuckin’ listen to Yes, Yes sucks, fuck you!!!” is an instant winner. From here Mighty High continue to mine their tales of drug abuse on the remaining 10 tracks. “Mooche” is a classic tale of a free loading deadbeat set to rollicking punk fuelled riffs. It’s not big…but it is surprisingly clever as Woody High displays a humour and turn of phrase in his lyrics that elevate themselves from being purely dumb, this is an intelligent level of dumbness that’s pretty hard to achieve. The High plumb their 70’s rock influences on “The Ram” which grooves on a riff that would have made Budgie proud and shows that the band, despite their image have a real eye for a well structured song. They probably won’t thank me for saying this but they are a surprisingly adept rock and roll band…maybe they can use this line in their advertising!!!
“Speedcreep” kicks off with the beyond Ramones count in of “one, two, one, two fuck yeah” before running away at a furious pace which recalls the American hardcore of the 80’s before the metal started to creep in and take over. The funky jam in the mid section shows that Mighty High are no purists in any direction. This is a band in which anything goes. More 70’s rock muscle gets flexed on “Tokin’ and Strokin’” which has a touch of the Foghat to it albeit topped off with Woody High’s untutored bark…a withdrawal driven yell that punctuates every track on the album with gleeful, tuneless abandon but gives the whole proceedings it’s fire and attitude.
The band dig a little further back into rock’s history on “Cheep Beer, Dirt Weed” which bucks along on a crusty MC5 meets Chuck Berry style rollercoaster. When they want to be, Mighty High are a damn fine rock and roll band. At the other end of the scale “Drug War” touches on The Dead Kennedys and 80’s thrash by way of Black Flag without ever losing that lose rock and roll vibe that permeates their entire sound.
Perhaps the cheekiest number on offer here is “Come On, I’m Holding” which unashamedly rips off UFOs classic “Lights Out”. The resemblance is so blatant it’s awesome but instead of London this is about being stoned in Brooklyn…and doesn’t have Michael Schenker on it…or Phil Mogg!!! It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to hear that the band also have a song called “Loaded Loaded”, or be much of a surprise to find that this is a tasty little slice of ZZ Top style boogie woogie with a lyrical bent towards…er…drugs!!! What does come across throughout this whole album is just how much affection Mighty High have for the rock and roll they play and the myriad influences that have brought them to this point. Like Stone Axe they don’t try to hide their influences and wear them on their sleeves like a badge of honour.
“Chemical Warpigs” does represent something of a departure for the band featuring a twisted semi thrash metal riff but set to a giant groove. There is a hint of strongly heterosexual, chemically altered Judas Priest at work here and the band even inject a level of experimentalism into the multi layered guitars that build during the mid section…they can actually play people!!! Seizing this new found musical ambition by the horns they roll into “High On The Cross” with clean guitars and Woody High actually managing something approximating a melody and sounding not unlike Ricky Warwick in the Almighty days…see, he can do it if he tries but it doesn’t last long as the band briefly flirt with some Slayer-esque rifferama before reverting to type and bringing the punk rock once more to bring the album to its logical conclusion.
It’s fairly safe to say Mighty High won’t appeal to many po faced doomsters out there but for those that appreciate that rock and roll needs fun, needs fury and needs to be fucked up then Mighty High are the perfect smoking companions. If they didn’t exist someone would have to form them so, in effect, Woody High has done the world a service. Everybody get High!!!!
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall