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Atomic Bitchwax | II | review | stoner | rock | Lollipop

The Atomic Bitchwax

II (Tee Pee)
by Brian Varney

If you travel in stoner circles, the first Atomic Bitchwax record was one whose name you've no doubt heard mentioned in hushed, reverential tones. And while I liked that record, I didn't love it and, try though I might, I just couldn't get it to really ring my bell. The second Bitchwax record, I can happily report, delivers upon every promise made by those whispering stoners the first time around, and perhaps even exceeds those hosannas.

Even less song-oriented than the first, II's tracks exist for one reason and one reason only: to jam. Yeah, some have vocals and some of 'em even have choruses, but this album is basically a big, old-fashioned wank-a-thon, and I for one couldn't be happier. The grooves are hotter, the solos are much tastier, and the period-flavored production (lotsa nice '70s flourishes and tricks) is the final masterstroke, pushing the pedal all the way through the floorboard.

While they'd already been jamming for six years when they recorded the first record, it felt a bit tentative, like they were nervous in the studio or something. Whatever the cause, it's no longer a problem because the music flows smoothly and easily from this record like honey poured from a jar. It isn't the lumbering Frankenstein monster forced to life, it's a smooth, strutting, finger-popping bad-ass mofo of a rock record and, if you let it, it'll walk all over you.

In other words, the band seems much more comfortable with what they're doing this time and, as a result, the record coheres a lot better. It feels like they've gotten closer to what they wanted with this record than they did with the last; and what they want is to make a record which conceivably could've come out in 1974. And they have, my friend, they have. So gas up the Camaro, put a bandanna on your head, whip out your 'lude stash, and put the poster from the Grand Funk Live Album on your wall 'cause tonight we're gonna party like it's 1974! Are you ready?
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