*The following review was written for an L.A. based digital magazine*
Space Junkies and California Hard Rock: Not A Case Study
If Chuck Berry and Valient Thorr had a child this is probably how it would sound. Amidst thrasher style lyrics, it is the instruments that stand out in Lecherous Gaze’s newest album, One Fifteen. The guitars alone slip fluidly between Hendrix-style solos and deep cuts of California hard rock. On the record’s fifth track, “The Day The Earth Caught Fire,” a bluesy twang presents itself amongst Zaryan Zaidi’s lyrics. With the recent addition of second guitarist Zach Dellorto-Blackwell, founder Graham Clise can now play through a plethora of sounds and electronics. While hints of former guitar greats appear sporadically throughout the album, the band’s adherence to the laws of hard rock allow each track to explore new territory. Additionally, the record is successful in displaying a more melodic connection between Zaidi and the six-string duo.
From all corners, Lecherous Gaze’s third full-length album feels like some other-worldly vessel careening through starscapes far off in the dark recesses of the universe. It is an intense hybrid of heavy California surf metal and the music one might hear when he or she first sets foot inside the house of a geeked-out junkie. It appears as if the album is the result of the culmination of an overturned Flash Gordon Universe, intergalactic Neanderthals and just the right amount of acid. On their Bandcamp page, the band even goes so far as to define themselves as, “demented punk psychedelia that will most certifiably make you sick, supplying the perfect soundtrack to lose the rest of your few remaining brain cells too. Comparable to dropping acid in hell, not recommended for the part time rocker.” At times this feels all too true, which for heavy rockers is a good thing, as early tracks rip through the gut with overtly powerful vocals. However, for the virgin listener, there are a few tracks that will ease one’s transition into Lecherous Gaze’s mob of Oakland rock — most notably, “One Fifteen” and “X City,” which remain faithful to the band’s thesis but play to a bit of a ‘tamer’ melody.
Make no mistake, the band’s identity remains true throughout the entire thirty-minute record and, as a whole, the album transcends traditional builds. It’s an interesting concoction of rock ‘n’ roll that deserves the ear of any avid music fan. While at times rough around the edges, Lecherous Gaze’s One Fifteen is most successful in its ability to work in a range of styles and sounds. Ultimately, the combination of vocals and instrumentals appears to meet an attractive symbiosis between California hard rock and trippy psychedelia.