Middle Class Rut - Pick Up Your Head (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
HAVING impressed with debut album No Name No Colour, Middle Class Rut duly up the ante with sophomore effort Pick Up Your Head.
A harder rocking collection of songs, this also showcases a different side to the band with wild drum patterns mixed within their desolate and intense sound. The result is often thrilling.
And yet the comparisons with Jane’s Addiction still ring loud and proud, along with nods to early Beastie Boys at times and even Rage Against The Machine with a little (by their own admission) Johnny Cash thrown in.
The seeds are sewn from the beginning with Born Too Late exploding to life amid wave upon wave of riffs and thunderous drums. Zack Lopez and Sean Stockham continue to share vocal duties, while applying their expertise to the guitars and drums, respectively, as well. This pounds you into submission. But for once, you won’t mind. It’s invigorating.
Leech slows things down a touch, opting for a more steady beat and some classic ’70s sounding guitar riffs and even a vaguely psychedelic sound. It’s another early favourite.
Weather Vein is the first song to really channel the spirit of Rage Against The Machine by virtue of its jagged, angular guitar hooks. The vocals, though, are pure Jane’s Addiction. The chorus is a belter.
Not every track hits the heights. And there are a couple of fillers. But Cut The Line drops a sound that’s more industrial than you might expect, building from a throbbing electronic pulse and some more aggressive vocals, while Sing While You Slave just rocks the shit out of the joint and should find an easy home among the US surfing fraternity and Point Break lovers.
Better still, though, is the utterly kick-ass Dead Eye, which manages to weave in some pile-driving acoustic riffs in amongst the heavier sound, draw more emphatically on a radio-friendly melody and adopt some of the cleanest vocals on the LP. It’s bloody brilliant.
Pick Up Your Head thrives on some meaty riffs and another shouty-shouty approach that actually does exhilarate but Police Man betters that effort with another instantly anthemic piledriver.
Aunt Betty then drops another menacing Rage Against The Machine-meets-Jane’s Addiction moment, before parting shot Take A Shot eases off the throttle completely for a moody, bluesy, hazy number that completely disarms. You could call it their Johnny Cash moment (at a stretch) but it’s a brilliantly realised finale (complete with great guitar solo) – a welcome comedown from the heady brew that has come before, that gives you pause for thought before the curtain comes down on a genuinely thrilling power rock collection.
Download picks: Dead Eye, Police Man, Born Too Late, Take A Shot, Leech