Endless Boogie Full House Head

[No Quarter; 2010]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: blues rock, Southern rock, psychedelic jams
Others: Blue Cheer, Gov’t Mule, The Black Keys

Lamenting the death of rock and celebrating the constant exultations of its rebirth has become exhausting. As one entity is bringing hammer to nail, another is prying the coffin lid to exhume the body before the maggots take to it. Do we really need an effigy of Jimi Hendrix to keep rock alive? By claiming its death, are we really setting it free?

None of that existential shit matters when listening to Endless Boogie. Fronted by enigmatically grizzled vocalist and guitarist Paul Major and built on an unshakable blue-collar foundation comprising Jesper Eklow, Mark Ohe, and Harry Druzd, Endless Boogie was formed on the blood and sweat of classic rock workmen. Guzzled by hard livin’ acolytes and shunned by those fearing provocation of the dusty party gods of yore, Endless Boogie cling to rock ’n’ roll life as if it were life itself. As mourners cast themselves onto caskets and undertakers carry them off to eternal rest, Endless Boogie go about their days without the somber pall of death or the flickering torch of sustainability. Whether rock ’n’ roll dies is not of their concern; it’s whether those who still give a damn about the swagger of Elvis hips and Les Paul riffs still care enough to just give in to their primal urges.

Like ambrosia from the gods, 2008’s Focus Level rattled the moldy bones of the past. Equally monolithic to its predecessor, Full House Head forges itself on the idea that rock is not an outdated sound but an internal attitude. Music is not a concept or a mantra; it’s a state of mind. It’s about throwing all your chips into the pot, laying your cards on the table, and letting chance overtake reason. Who knows why we love rock ’n’ roll and who gives a damn — there doesn’t need to be an answer, just an outlet. Full House Head is such a beast.

Once Endless Boogie get going, there’s no stopping their momentum. Full House Head is one stacked jam after the next, each with a unique take on the history of rock without the messiness of tribute. “Pack Your Bags” is Hendrix bravado fed through an insatiable wah, always feeding on the same lick. “Slow Creep” lives its title, carefully wringing a melody from a lazy slide. Southern rock blisters “Mighty Fine Pie,” as the boys extend a three-minute jingle into a seven-minute display of Stones attitude that even Mick and Keith can no longer manage. Album bookends “Empty Eye” and “A Life Worth Leaving” prove to be Full House Head’s magnificent monstrosities. Leaning heavy on the seductive swing of swamp rock, both display Endless Boogie’s affection for all things southern rock. “Empty Eye” is the aggressor, hitting on the listener with the bravado of a Connecticut Yankee in Strom Thurmond’s court, an infusion of northern strut into southern charm. “A Life Worth Leaving” finds the boys teasing psychedelic tendencies, trampling on the muddy ground of quintessential jam bands such as Gov’t Mule. Unlike their long-winded brethren, Endless Boogie don’t hover on a simple stanza for too long, almost taking this dirty brand of blues into progressive territory. Twenty-two minutes is a lot to ask of an audience, but Endless Boogie command attention with constant evolution.

Pessimistic attitude about the state of rock be damned. Endless Boogie have no use for it. Stand on the sidelines if you must, but Full House Head won’t allow for mopes. This isn’t about a tired notion or some resurrection; it’s about digging into the muck and pulling out the blues in each of us — those feelings of regret and remorse that are always hiding in our blind spots. Endless Boogie shove ’em in our face and do it with the sort of unrivaled glee that leaves our heads banging. Rock may be dead, but don’t tell it to the Boogie.

Links: Endless Boogie - No Quarter

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