It seems you can’t keep a good band down. 15 years into their career Suplecs have spent 5 years fighting back from the devastation caused to their hometown of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina to drop this, their fourth album and first for the home of all things fuzzy, Small Stone.
Much as New Orleans itself is a mish mash of cultures so are Suplecs, a bold combination of musical styles all kept dry from the impending rain under the umbrella of stoner rock. This is no more evident than in the opening one-two punch of “Stand Up” with its galloping, Iron Maiden style rhythms and “Fema Man” which somehow manages to tip its hat towards some mid 90’s Nu-Metal/rap crossover under the thick layers of fuzz…and somehow they manage to make it sound pretty damn decent…and I never thought I would ever use the terms Nu Metal and decent in the same breath!!!
Just as we’ve got used to Suplecs’ chest beating thunderous heaviness they turn on a dime and hit us with some grungy punk with “Once Again” which softens the macho attack of the previous two tracks with a greater level of melody and restraint to show they are certainly no one trick pony. There is so much to this band to be discovered…only three tracks in and I’m intrigued by what’s to come next!!! “Tried To Build An Engine” retains some of the grunge vibe coming across like a bizarre hybrid of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Fu Manchu…yeah I know this doesn’t sound like a combination that would work but trust me, it does as the band switch from an understated verse complete with distorted vocals to a behemoth riff of stoner goodness that plays out the rest of the song.
“Worlds on Fire” sounds like the kind of song the Foo Fighters should be writing instead of being lame pop stars trading on Grohl’s cheeky charm!!! Short, sharp and effective the punky riff ‘n’ rhythm back up a vocal that’s catchier than a cold sore at a teen party!!! So far it’s all been pretty upbeat so this is the point that Suplecs decide to go all epic on our asses with the ebb and flow of “2×4” which drifts from understated ambient melodies to majestic walls of THC riddled fuzz before pulling the rig from under your stoned feet and galloping to the climax in fine Sabbath meets Judas Priest style.
So you want something that sounds like a cross between Alabama Thunderpussy, The Allman Brothers and the Pixies? Well let’s see what Suplecs have in their ass pocket for you…here it is, “In Your Shadow”. This tune features an ugly yet melodic vocal and a subtle southern vibe yet the “oh oh” backing vocals hit you with a big dose of “Doolittle” era Pixies!!! Bet you never thought you’d have these bands mentioned together in a review did ya!!!! It’s ok though as “Stepped On” brings things back to normality with a supercharged piece of kick-ass slacker stoner pop and roll…not a million miles from Fu Manchu but somehow a touch more satisfying.
By now you’re probably in the mood for some hairy backed stoner riffing right? Just as well as “Coward” is here to deliver…big of groove and fuzzier than a Spanish woman’s top lip!!! The Fu Manchu comparisons rear their head again in the lazy vocalising that speaks of years of queuing at the all night store for munchies after an evening on the weed!!! By the time the band get to the final track they seem to realise that they’ve forgotten to throw any good old fashioned doom into their heavy rocking gumbo and bring the pace right down for “Switchblade” which, for all it’s powerhouse fuzz and crawling rhythms retains a welcome bluesy southern vibe…again not a million miles from Alabama Thunderpussy.
Sometimes you can put an album on and by halfway through you’ve pretty much heard all the band has to offer but not so with Suplecs as they deliver a 10 song lesson in the history of rock and roll. Listening to this album is a little like eating a bag of Jelly Beans without the flavour chart…you never really know what you’re going to pull out but some of it sure does taste sweet!!! Suplecs are back and keeping the Small Stone reputation intact!!!
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall