I have to admit that I waited for this particular release with so much anticipation. When you hear names like Jason Cutthroat, Donny Paycheck, and Mike Watt on the same bill, you immediately know things can’t go better than this. Therefore, I was more than interested in reviewing their latest full-length album right after Hound Dawg! Records sent me the news about it. Hound Dawg! Records were kind enough to send a compact disc version, so here I am now, blasting Devil In Berlin as loud as possible. As far as I am informed, the idea for Devil In Berlin sparked after the previous collaboration between The Cutthroat Brothers with Mike Watt. Their collaborative Record Store Day release was such a success, so they treated us with another one, and believe me, you should grab this full-length release as soon as you spot it on shelves in a local record store.
For those who’re not familiar with the music of The Cutthroat Brothers, this duo consists of Jason Cutthroat (Katie’s Dimples, Swelter Cacklebush) and Donny Paycheck (ZEKE, Toxic Holocaust, Derelicts, Camarosmith, Rhino Humpers). Legendary Mike Watt is probably the most famous for his contribution to groups like Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges, plus other groups, projects, and other types of musical endeavors. With an impressive opus like this, there shouldn’t be any doubt this album will sound good. Devil In Berlin offers eleven thoughtfully arranged garage punk numbers. The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt showcase all the years of experience through these compositions, which are undoubtfully going even beyond garage punk sound. Besides the sheer dominance of garage punk, these skillful musicians also explore other compatible music genres, such as garage rock, rock’n’roll, rockabilly, and grunge.
Each composition provides an entirely different atmosphere, but still, Devil In Berlin sounds compact and well-arranged. This recording will be a treat for those listeners who mostly enjoy moderate, raw, abrasive rock’n’roll sound. It is due to a dirty, grungy, fuzzy, overly distorted guitar sound that overwhelms the entire atmosphere from all possible directions. Still, the chord progressions, thoughtfully arranged riffs, rock’n’roll scales, occasional solos are vividly hearable in the mix, and you’ll have no troubles noticing it. There’s also a lot of vibrato, tremolo, slide technics involved, so if you’re into these types of maneuvers, you’ll love the impressive guitar performance even more.
The rhythm section is detailed to the max as well. Each rhythmic sequence sounds complex, detailed, cleverly arranged, with plenty of accentuations involved along the way. You should pay attention to Donny Paycheck’s mind-blowing performance while listening to Devil In Berlin because this material proves why he’s one of the best in the business. As usual, Mike Watt provides various low-end virtuosities that will make your jaw drop to the floor. His performance serves as a binding element between guitar and drums, but it’s still notable from scratch to finish. His instrument sounds delicate, but you surely won’t miss a single tone he delivers. One of the most prolific bass guitar players is such a perfect addition to this group, and all three musicians together sound like unstoppable garage rock machinery. For those who demand a more brief comparison, Devil In Berlin carries the sound similar to The Stooges, The Cramps, The Meteors, and Nick Cave combined altogether, but in a more raw, abrasive, and energetic form.
Devil In Berlin is currently up for pre-order, and you can choose between vinyl and compact disc. The album comes out on December 10. Head over to Hound Dawg! Records for more information about ordering.