Music News

Gaza Strippers

There are two kinds of records in this world: Those that are simply listened to, and those that are listened to loud enough for your neighbors to enjoy along with you. On Electric Bible, the Gaza Strippers gleefully drop the latter sort. Indeed, the band comes out with both guitars a-blazing and its rhythm section pounding on this gloriously rambunctious trash-rock extravaganza.

Traces of every era of rock and roll's seamy heritage find their way onto Electric Bible, the Strippers' third album. Though the band's glammy punk relies heavily on the snotty sounds of the New York Dolls and the Dead Boys, there are bits and pieces of everything from the Stones' sex to the spunk of modern-day garage-rock revivalists like the Supersuckers (with whom frontman Rick Sims played guitar before starting the Strippers). This is music made by and for the legions of boozin', smokin' and fightin' types who know rock's at its edgy best when blasting live through the cheap P.A. of a dive bar. And though the Strippers walk perilously close to cliche, they never go over the edge.

The band's knack for avoiding the stupidity that plagues glam rock primarily stems from Sims's vocal tracks. Though the lyrics aren't particularly weighty -- "Low Dog" is a tribute to a mean junkyard hound, while "Transistor" is a sensual ode to the joys of ear-splitting rock and roll -- Electric Bible steers clear of such tired junk-rock topics as booze, women and weaponry. And while the Strippers keep their fast, loud and snotty focus throughout the record's ten tracks, they strike out in a surprising number of stylistic directions, from four-on-the-floor guitar worship ("Throttle Bottom") to drum-heavy rocking ("Pull the Plug") to a celebration of full-blown glam that smacks of a love of KISS ("Laced Candy").

There are actually a few moments when the guitars (played through a searing wall of distortion, naturally) aren't turned up to ten and the band isn't taking its rhythmic cues from jackhammer crews -- but not many. With all of the energy the Strippers pour into each track, Electric Bible begs to be listened to at ear-damaging, neighbor-annoying decibels. But, hey, considering the album is less than half an hour long, you can blast through the whole thing before the cops show up. What more could any true-blue rocker ask for?

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Matt Schild