Sasquatch: II

Originally delayed because of a mastering problem that led to the first run of the album being pressed at half-speed, Sasquatch’s sophomore effort is now available through Detroit’s stoner rock smugglers Small Stone Records. It would have been a damn tragedy if it came out and sucked after all that, especially the cost of having it re-pressed (“Help! Help! I’m being re-pressed!”), but fortunately the L.A. band subverts the issue by kicking ass all over the 11 tracks on this little piece of plastic.

Opener “Let It In” immediately lets you know that the catchiness that made a song like “Money Man” off the self-titled so infectious is still in full swing, and follow-up tracks “The Judge” and “Pleasure To Burn,” the latter with more of a southern twang in the guitar fuzz, reinforce it with style and set the tone for the rest of the album as one of a straightforward, ’70s-inspired, fast- driving, drug-taking, other rock cliché-ing good time.

Just when the formula begins to become apparent, the acoustic album centerpiece “Nikki” comes in and changes the pace of II entirely. A sweet, layered Led Zeppelin-wah number with vocal harmonies and steady strumming, it’s a surprising album highlight and shows that Sasquatch are more than just riffs and yarling vocals, that their songwriting is actually as strong as it seems.

Side B plays out much the same as A, acoustic track named for a woman—this time it’s “Catalina”—included, but the finale, “What Have You Done” is another unexpected twist. Slower, doomier and constructed from a giant wall of distortion, it’s probably the song that was easiest to place in the sequencing process: “Oh man, we gotta end with this!”

Sasquatch represent the second generation of American stoner rock. Coming up on bands like Kyuss and Monster Magnet (as well as the obvious, Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, etc.), they’re taking the conventions of the genre and pushing them to new limits, all the while maintaining the simple ethic of “kick ass and take names” that brought this music out of the desert in the first place.

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