Linus Pauling Quartet: Assault from the Vault of the Ancient Bonglords
The early 90’s saw the proliferation of grunge music across the musical landscape. Countless bands arose to rock the nation and distance the genre from the hair metal and cheesy production techniques of the 80’s while embracing the harsher, more experimental rock temperaments of the 60’s and early 70’s. While many bands from this era fell by the wayside, eventually splitting up (perhaps reuniting later on) the Linus Pauling Quartet has managed to remain active for nearly twenty years. To mark this milestone in their history, LP4 has produced a 3 CD collection chronicling their musical adventure with smoked out stoner jams, hard hitting riffs, and an appealing less-than-serious disposition.
The collection kicks off with an LP4 classic, the “Linus Theme” song. This track is a nice introduction to the band, featuring doomy riffs and lyrics that literally tell the listener “We are not Black Sabbath. We are LINUS!”. The introduction continues with “Roll Out the Bong”, an aptly named stoner jam featuring some sick lead and sporadic coughing fits between heavily distorted rhythm and vocals. While these heavy, drug-induced fuzzy rockers make up a great deal of the first disc, the LP4 really shows their variety on tracks like the hallucinatory “Dance of the Bug People” and the fairly comedic prog-rock number “Cole Porter (Drug Test)”. Another highlight from disc one is “La Tapitia” which tells the story of eating taco bell with Satan and features some suitably bizarre vocal distortions.
The second disc contains some more psychedelic jams. Songs like “Larry’s Song” and “hENERY fLOATS” are rather calm compared to their more aggressive works, building slowly with cool leads and straight-forward drums. “Hendrix Boots” takes the band back to their acid-rock roots, grooving splendidly with horns thrown in for extra measure. One of my favorites, the eight minute “Alien Abduction” makes an appearance near the end of this disc. This track gets back to the dirty stoner rock with a vengeance, pumping out some gritty riffs before ascending the psychedelic heights with a very spacey jam in the center that stretches out to the 7 minute mark. The song descends once again into its smoky haze of distortion before its close.
Disc three of this 42-song collection opens with an old school LP4 track, “Hamburger Girl”. This one is maybe the closest the group comes to a love song, featuring sweetly sung lyrics and a laid back lead line over a fairly sparse rhythm. The slow building “Lost in Darkness and Distance” recalls the far out vibe of the early Doors recording “The End”. This instrumental track features prolonged calm sections punctuated by explosive, fuzzed-out and furious moments. “The Eye of God” is an interesting track with a spoken word story from one of the members made completely ridiculous with some trippy sound effects. The story concerns the construction of a bong and a subsequent psychedelic experience following its use. While not a song in its own right, this track is one of several fun interludes that fill the compilation out well. The collection closes with the hilarious “Porno in the Sink.” While many of their songs feature some form of hilarity, this one is a pure laugh riot that retains their greasy, gritty composing style while sounding almost like a radio single.
While this three disc set might be a bit overwhelming for the casual listener, a few tokes, drops, or drinks could help expand your attention span. For the long time fan of LP4, this collection contains many fantastic tracks spanning their epic, monster-slaying career plus a few unreleased gems that should whet your appetite until the brownies kick in…
MP3: Linus Pauling Quartet “Hendrix Boots”