A Seattleite and a Chicagoan walk into the desert. This somehow results in Middle Class Rut meets O’Brother one minute, strapping lads screaming over fuzzy electrical pop-metal the next. While initiators Mark Holcomb and Larry Herweg probably have a long history paved with inspiration or mescaline, Juliette & The Licks’ Kemble Walters and Cali bassist Tony Baumeister add icing to a semi-glorious madness that is AEGES‘ 2012 LP/Valhalla gateway The Bridge.
At what point did stoner rock become more uplifting than psychedelic? The Bridge proves that a little wholesome pop influence can go a long way if stripped of faux depth and existential melodrama. AEGES never stumbles in its overall volume (“Roaches”, “Southern Comfort”), yet manages to simultaneously reach a positively-charged echelon that bands like Blindside aimed for back in ’02 (“The Bridge”, “My Medicine”), minus any given deity or hero worship. The Bridge feels as if it cheers on mankind’s resilience against ravaging odds, self-sufficiency versus self-discovery.
There are times one might get a sense AEGES resembles a few man-children squawking over hard guitar to make any number of arbitrary emo points, but those are just their hardcore elements getting misrepresented (“I Believe In Ghosts”). A few fellows in the field could probably take some pointers (here’s looking at you, A Liquid Landscape), and SoCal could do worse for itself than lending its plethora of peyote-soaked sonic scenes to four guys whose various career paths led to a virtually unrecognized supergroup status. Hell, this is better than Chickenfoot, even in cheesier rock moments still maintaining a semblance of heavy (“Sent From Heaven (Rest In Dirt)”, “Fade Out”).
No unneeded plot development, no loose concepts, no big and bombarding hit singles, just real rock from real people. Granted, the people in question were probably being nostalgic for the good ol’ days of childhood at intervals, but then again, we are mere mortals. What more do you want, a vision of the Virgin Mary on your compact disc? You’ll need a dealer on speed-dial, rest assured.
Essential Tracks: “Roaches”, “Sent From Heaven (Rest In Dirt)”