The Jewws

After teasing us with an EP and a three-song single, the Jewws arrive with their first full-length hunk of wax, l'explosion du son de maintenant! ("The Now Sound Explosion"). If you're wondering about the French title, it owes less to Francophilia than to the fact that this local band's release is coming out on the Belgian label Demolition Derby -- which is an even more apt name for the vinyl-only release, which sounds like a Chuck Berry hot-rod beater barreling out of the garage and colliding head-on with a woody full of surf-punks. After the movie dialogue introduction, the Jewws keep their feet rammed on the gas pedal as they crash through 14 original up-tempo wailers, and unlike their hit-or-miss live shows, the entries on this platter consistently take the checkered flag.

Aside from a couple of surfy instrumentals, guitarist Omari Yoshihiro handles the vocals on their scalding pounders about cars, girls, outer space and rock and roll. Although these kids aren't discovering any new galaxies with their three chords and fuzzed-up retro rock, they do manage to use their minimal guitar, bass and drum lineup to torque those basic elements of rock into their rambunctious dragster without running into the generic rock ditch. As one of their song titles would have it, their short, fast, catchy blasts will have you doin' the "Saturn Swivel."

Tired of the latest image-is-everything flavor of the month? Don't let the generic cover art fool you, this self-produced release is a welcome reminder of what rock and roll is all about: the music. So go ahead -- bust out a few cold ones, open up the garage door and let out the "Space City Beat!"

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Timothy J. O'Brien