There’s two of them. They’re both called Ben. Together they’re known as The Two Bens, which sounds like a dodgy puppet show for kids. It isn’t. There’s no fiction here. This is the real deal. The Winnebago Deal. The duo from Oxford who are doing for full-time bass players what DVDs have done for video cassettes.
Some have Christened Messrs Perrier and Thomas as The White Stripes Of Heavy Metal. Don’t believe it boys and girls. They’re more like The Whiter-Than-Hot Scars Made By A Branding Iron. Want to be scorched? Welcome to Dead Gone…
The Lineup sets out The Two Bens’ stall with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. 58 seconds of guitar madness and distorted vocals later, and you’re hurried, nay, propelled into Breakdown, the first of many bruising pastiches of ’70s Sabbath licks, ’80s Motorhead speed, ’90s grunge dynamics and 21st Century attitude. They once had a fight with those American punk pretenders Good Charlotte. One listen to the dirty, metallic riff of L.S. Fiction and you’ll understand why.
Winnebago Deal, erm, deal in music to mosh to with a can of beer in your hand and a smile on your face. It’s all about the grooves and the rhythm (man), and with the legendary Jack Endino (Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nirvana) on production duties there’s never any danger of the guitar riffs sounding too clean or the songs being too long to disappear up their own, sizeable bottom end.
By the time the stop-start Did It Done It Doing It Again and the aptly-titled Knife Chase and Shankfight have whizzed by in a veritable maelstrom of grimy guitars, evil vocals and flailing limbs, you’re left knackered. Seems like The Two Bens may have worn themselves out in the studio at this point too, because Cargo Bull and Takin’ Care Of Business take their hobnail boots of the accelerator and settle down into a bluesy, hard rockin’ vibe.
Then comes the title track, which at seven and a half minutes long makes it about 5 minutes longer than most of the other tracks on the album. It’s an instrumental but nowhere near as self-indulgent as that might imply, full of multiple stoner antics and more false d�nouements than a Wes Craven horror film. Scary but mildly amusing, in other words.
It’s left to sub-three minute grunge workout NWO to finish things off and leave you with the kind of headache usually reserved for the morning after the night before. A good night before, mind. I’m off for some hair of the dog…