Monster Magnet

"My whole life in Monster Magnet, and pretty much my whole life in rock and roll, has been a cross between the ultimate satirical stereotype and the times when that stereotype becomes a reality," Monster Magnet leader Dave Wyndorf told Westword in 1998. "And the cool thing is, when you're in a band, you're kind of in the driver's seat of the stereotype. So why not hit the gas?"

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These comments perfectly sum up the appeal of God Says No, Monster Magnet's latest. Unlike those members of the Heavy Metal Army who seem afraid to crack a smile (maybe that's why those guys in Slipknot wear masks), Wyndorf and his merry crew -- guitarists Ed Mundell and Phil Caivano, bassist Joe Calandra and drummer Jon Kleiman -- understand that while the elements of traditional hard-rock style are sorta silly at this point, the music's still a lot of fun, and there's nothing wrong with having some. Witness "Melt," which simmers over low heat for nearly a minute before Wyndorf sings, "Just set that plastic soul on fire and watch it MELT!" -- a declaration that triggers a cascade of deafening riffs, bludgeoning bass, swirling psychedelic effects and screams from an abyss that's well worth visiting on a regular basis. So, too, is "Heads Explode," with its Ramones-simple lyric hook ("This is how we go about it/To make our heads explode!"), "My Little Friend," a pick-up song so bald that Big Dave even asks for a woman's sign (surprisingly, it's not 'Yield'), and "Cry," a squalling mock epic complete with spook-house organ and lines about being a "mood tornado." Everybody do the twist.

Regrettably, Wyndorf occasionally seems interested in stretching out musically -- a positive in most instances, but not in this one. For example, the title cut ("I need some love to start the show/I ask just once/But God says no") stubbornly remains at medium tempo in what appears to be a futile bid for radio airplay, and "Take It" ("Stay in the closet and be real still/Daddy's gonna feed you another pill") uses as its main instrumentation a synthesized rhythm track and Wyndorf's whistling, which definitely won't get any fists pumping. Clearly, Wyndorf is better off when he's taking his own advice. Why putt along a residential street at 30 mph when you can roar down the highway at 120?

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