Monday, 2 April 2018

Tom Baker and the Snakes - Lookout Tower (Power Rock/Punk US 2017)


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From Massachusetts, a three-prong guitar rock n roll attack 

If you like your rock & roll to worry less about subgenres and more about just getting to the good stuff, Tom Baker is yer man. 



Damn, has Link:  Rum Bar Records ever been serving up the rock this month! You might need to invest in louder speakers! Hot on the heels of that amazing new Bullet Proof Lovers album, Malibu Lou unleashes the eagerly awaited new LP from Tom Baker and the Snakes. Singer/guitarist Baker (Nana, the Dirty Truckers) is a fixture of the Boston garage/rock n' roll scene. 



He's backed by a formidable unit of veteran players including John Brookhouse (Worshipper, The Dirty Truckers) on lead guitar, Charles Hansen (Rock Bottom) on guitar, John Sheeran (Spitzz, Township) on bass, and Johnny Blout (Watts) on drums. Do the math, and you realize that's three guitars in this band. And none of 'em go to waste! Lookout Tower is the new album, and it delivers 11 shots of Stones/Faces inspired rock n' roll with a palpable heartland of America feel. 



The album imbues '70s arena rock wallop with the ragged underdog spirit of bands like The Replacements. That Westerberg/Stinson worship really shows through on signature tunes like the rough-around-the-edges pop gem "Doll Eyes" and the late night dive-bar banger "High n' Tight". Both were standout tracks on the band's digital-only 4 Stars EP from last year, and it would have been criminal to have kept them off the album. 

But there's plenty more to like here, from the meat & potatoes rocker "Gotta Find Her" to the '90s college radio jangle of "Needle in the Red" to the rootsy ballad "Say Goodbye" (which sounds like something Soul Asylum could have done in its prime). "Bad Change" hovers at the intersection of big hook power pop and boozy rock n' roll - an especially sweet spot for this band. And "Satisfied Fool" takes me straight back to the late '80s of my youth when I was seemingly listening to album-oriented rock radio 24/7. 


Tom Baker and the Snakes are a perfect fit on the Rum Bar roster- filling the space between the '70s FM thunder of Watts and the earnest blue collar rock n' roll of Nato Coles. If you like a whole lot of guitar in your rock n' roll (and really, who doesn't?!), Lookout Tower will have you in rock-out heaven. Beyond that, the quality and depth of Baker's songwriting is not to be overlooked. Arriving at the beginning of spring, Lookout Tower is for sure an album you'll want to crank loud as you relax on the porch and enjoy a cold beverage straight from the can. This, my friends, is real deal Boston rock n' roll!  

There was an afternoon once when you were laying on your bed staring at the Creem and Hit Parader rock star posters on your wall. You were listening to your new favorite record; the one you’d picked up at Crazy Eddie and then ran home to play on your Dad’s old turntable that you’ve snagged for your own. Maybe it’s Saturday, and you’re heading out with friends in an hour or so. 



You can’t quite place the band in this memory, but there were elements of the Stones in there; echoes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It had the snarl and the slide of the Replacements; but then again, raised a pint to Steve Marriott. It reminded you of college -- were you in college yet?

Tom Baker - vox, guitars 
 John Brookhouse - guitars, vox 
 Charles Hansen - guitars 
 John Sheeran - bass 
 John Blout - drums, percussion 

01. Gotta Find Her 02:21
02. Run It Out 03:31
03. Make It Hurt 03:29
04. Doll Eyes 02:42
05. High n' Tight 03:50
06. Waitin for Nothing 02:09
07. Bad Change 03:03
08. Needle in the Red 02:39
09. Satisfied Fool 03:43
10. Maybe Come Back to Me 02:47
11. Say Goodbye 03:11

1. Tom Baker
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2. Tom Baker
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3. Tom Baker


1 comment:

Malaspina said...

Another solid guitar based album.Of course,these guys are totally unknown to me.In 2018,I am mainly listening to jazz and alt. country (whatever that is) but I need my fix of good loud guitar rock.Thanks Chris.