Cincinnati’s Ohio Knife are an unforgiving rock n’ roll influenced band that produces the kind of primitive rock music that was prevalent in the early 1970’s, prior to punk being a gleam in Iggy Pop‘s eye. This retrospective trio bring a combination of raspy vocals, that were the hallmark of singers who overindulged in the fabled trio of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, that are accompanied by trashy fuzzed up guitars, and a solid rhythm section that anchors the trio’s primal rock ‘n roll.
Ohio Knife play the kind of rock music that was around in the early to mid 70’s, you can certainly hear that there’s more than a touch of bands such as the MC5 and Creedence Clearwater Revival in Ohio Knife‘s DNA. The whole album boasts a glorious vintage fuzz and possess and very rock ‘n roll sensibility. Just listen to keyboards in my personal favourite from the album, Day And Night, for evidence of that, a glorious Jerry Lee Lewis hellfire piano makes an appearance to accompany the fuzzed up riffs on this number. Scalp Or Be Scalped is an album that spans the early to mid 1970’s, from soulful rockers to the proto punk snarl of Special Plans, if you’re going to do something then you might as well do it properly and Ohio Knife are nothing if not an authentic rock ‘n roll throwback.
Like the original bands of that era I personally prefer their more upbeat numbers, but numbers like Be The Dark bring the pace down and bring a fine sinister tone to Scalp Or Be Scalped. This is such an unashamedly retro album it’s hard to not to succumb to it’s charms, whilst a few of the slower numbers aren’t for me I can’t help but fall partially under the spell of Scalp Or Be Scalped. Ohio Knife are a complete anachronism, their sound is conspicuously old fashioned and this album sounds like it’s been transplanted from a bygone era, but it’s done so well that I find that I don’t care.
Scalp Or Be Scalped was released in October and is available on vinyl, CD and digital formats.
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