For nearly 30 years, King Louie Bankston has sat on the high court of garage rock, having founded or co-founded The Persuaders, The Bad Times, and The Exploding Hearts, as well as having drummed for Jay Reatard’s band, and influenced everyone from King Khan to the Black Lips. His new project, King Louie’s Missing Monuments, lacks the punk edge and some of the garage fun. Instead, Bankston roots himself wholly in the power-pop arena.
Starting off with the riffy power-pop jam “Girl of the Nite”, the equation for most of the disc is set: rapid rock rhythms, familiar song structures, huge hooks, and even bigger guitar solos. For a dude that’s been in the game since the very beginning of Goner records, Bankston still sounds like a young punk. His lyrics are about staying out all night, picking up chicks, and rocking hard.
Julian Fried’s ripping guitar on “(It’s Like) XTC” is played low in the mix, but still demands most of the attention. Later, on the album’s title track, the gruff old school vocal harmonies play off of the grinding guitar progressions for a fun, nostalgic track. This is your absolute meat and potatoes, straight-forward, no frills power pop, but at the same time holds some flourishes of Louie’s garage pedigree to keep things interesting.
The huge, soaring solo on “All Bandaged Up” may be the best on the album, the distorted shredding supercharged with enough energy to bolster an otherwise nice track. The screeching lead take on “Broken Hands” may be the other contender, with the best bass line on the album also pummeling things forward.
The vaguely surfy guitars on “Black Rainbow” clash unfortunately with the shouted vocals. A bit of a croon would have matched the music making it a garage gem (and Fried’s solo would prove it to be just that), but instead it’s a pretty generic throwback to the early ’90s, a phrase that could be used for a large portion of the album. Nothing on the disc is offensive, but rarely does it break any real ground. Fans of power-pop will find a solid disc, but beyond the guitar solos, there’s nothing with much of a punch.