Bobby Kennedy’s Acid is a powerhouse combo of attitude past and extraordinarily present. With nuances of British punk and Smart Aleck barbs of alt-rock tongue-in-cheek, Kennedy weaves a dark and majestically diverse composite of original material. Flying miles above the current landscape of narcissistic hipsters and talentless divas, Kennedy’s sound is like an F-22 Raptor on its way to drop a payload full of rock and roll pandemonium on the latest “Bier” garden.
Kennedy’s point of view encompasses the good, the bad, and the ugly of all we are. From overviews on lustful infatuation to obliterated romance, fatalism and the seething reaction to modern commercial fantasies, Kennedy is a communicator from the bottom of his road-weary soul. Recorded over at Joey DeMaio’s Shorefire Studio in Long Branch, NJ, Tales Of Contempt is a joyful dose of organic and muscular sound not heard much these days. The disc was mastered by industry veteran Phil Caivano. Caivano made his musical bones as a player in bands such as Shrapnel, Blitzspeer, and Monster Magnet.
To those who may not be familiar with the visionary expertise that Kennedy brings to the table, Kennedy started off as a national scene leader with The Chronic Sick, a band who still draws fans from all over the globe. But on top of that, Kennedy made his industry mark in L.A. as a writer for television and film. From shows such as Sex In The City, CSI and King Of The Hill, to films like Fled and Zoolander, Kennedy pushed himself into broader territories of success, honing his writing skills while paying the bills. His eponymous release in 2012 rekindled his live music direction with a fire that continues to fuel his frenetic journey on this latest platter.
Featuring 10 no-nonsense gems, Tales Of Contempt flows in seamless and mayhem-driven continuity. If you’re a fan of bands such as Love And Rockets, The Plimsouls, The Godfathers, The Beatles, The Damned and The Presidents Of The United States Of America, Tales Of Contempt is a record you’re going to want to revisit on a regular basis.
“Outta Sight” pops with 1979 New York City sizzle. Joe Chyb’s drum work commands the attention and jags in time with the bombastic bass work of Vincent Brue. Kennedy works double duty with guitarist John Herguth, laying down dynamic and gritty six-string swagger that dodge in and out between his Perry Farrell-styled vocals. Choruses swelter with addictive hook influence which includes an incredible minor chord down step that tightens the focus and makes this song memorable for days. The wind up to the bridge features squelched, mid-range guitar rhythms that usher in Kennedy for a frenetic salvo of outro lead work.
Another standout is “Rock And Roll Genocide.” Kennedy rolls out his trademark hilarity with lines like, “I’m sick of rock and roll, stupid fuckin’ rock and roll. I don’t even like this song; it’s already way too long.” Guitars dig in, hammering staccato Pete Townshend licks as Brue and Chyb nail this poppy punk monster to the floor. Kennedy communicates what we’ve all thought as we stand in front of a myriad of band clones scratching our heads and wondering why they sound like a bubbly, mall version of the Sex Pistols.
Acid also does a bang-up version of Love And Rockets’ “Motorcycle.” Featuring the scariest guitar riffs this side of Tony Iommi, Kennedy and crew pay homage to the original concept in a way that makes this song scream with boisterous brilliance. Once again, the production savvy of DeMaio and Kennedy proves to be a winner as the spectrum of sound hits like a precision delivered blitzkrieg. You can’t help but surrender to your inner nerd and jump around like an idiot in front of the mirror as you listen to this addictive version.
“I Don’t” explores the familiar feeling of incredulous dislike. Drums sound the alarm as guitars slide decades of 1960s Kinks bridge work across the piece. I love the middle-eight, which brings in melody that sounds sort of like the theme to S.W.A.T., a fabulous subconscious hook in my book. Miles of reverb shutters and warbles the stereo spectrum, shaking the room like some bizarre leather lounge hybrid of John Lennon and The Smithereens. “I Don’t” definitely does.
Hitting you in the face with good ole’ rock and roll punch, “Solitaire” is next and tells the tale of relationship dissipation and idolatry despair. Delivered in the style of The Beatles, Kennedy downshifts and moves this British vehicle onto the blacktop of decaying love as he sums it up with, “This ‘Together Forever’ is going nowhere, ‘cause I feel I can no longer deal, in the longest game of Solitaire.”
My favorite song on Tales Of Contempt is definitely “Black Cloud.” This is the song that rules this CD’s roost. Guitars, bass and drums report with all the power of The Replacements in their heyday. Dynamics are dead on as each musician takes this song to new and exciting levels of performance excellence. Kennedy’s lyrics are a psychologically fascinating look into each composition he pens. Visual melancholy and the art of illustrative weariness are way above board on “Black Cloud.” My favorite line kicks off with, “I woke up this morning in the middle of a graveyard, and I open the door just to eat a little lightening. A black cloud, the luck of the Irish, is giving me a beat down.” Herguth and Kennedy throw big batches of bar chord bravado over the top of the Rattlesnake rhythm work of Brue and Chyb. Bridges spill down the psychedelic waterfall of Procol Harem before exploding into one of the best rock choruses on the planet. Kennedy’s middle-eight lead demonstrates that he is both melodic and toned times 10, squeezing raw soul and style in the bloody vein of Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick. Vividly dark, powerful and bigger than life, “Black Cloud” is an A-list thunderstorm of rock and roll salvation. As Bobby so eloquently states, “It’s gonna be cloudy with a chance of devastation.”
Tales Of Contempt is a standout example of blending timeless rock and roll application with technical teamwork savvy, compositional skill and the intelligence to present it all in an original and engaging way. Acid proves that they are a band that remains separate from the Lemmings that are all on their way to the cliff of mediocrity.
You can see the band perform Tales Of Contempt in its entirety on July 31 at…get this…The Cabaret in Eatontown. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Cabaret, it happens to be the most congenial strip club in Jersey. Acid will be joined by special guests The Ribeye Brothers for this strange and wonderful summertime event.
For more information on Tales Of Contempt and the release show, head over to facebook.com/AcidHQ.