Conspicuously missing from Guitar Wolf’s latest, Love Rock, is a cover of “Lover’s Rock.” My head plays with the possibility of thunderbolt guitars coupled with frontman Seiji’s lupine growl making a raunchy riot out of the Clash classic. It would be a cacophonous collision of static and Engrish, a high energy adoring spin kick to the throat. But instead of a song about the place you can kiss and treating a lover girl right, the title song of the album is like a shotgun blast to the face right out of the movie Wild Zero (which featured Guitar Wolf). Though the lyrics are nearly unintelligible, “Love Rock” supposedly opens with the following lines: “My Queen I loved in the Amazon / Rock `n’ Roll Power she didn’t believe / Tho as the piranhas I obeyed her / At which point I had enough.” Later, Seiji (supposedly) belts, “Compass points to Rock `n’ Roll.”
Yes, it is brilliant.
Originally released in Japan in 2000, Love Rock, like other Guitar Wolf albums, is deeply entrenched in a loveable ridiculousness. Characterized by the same screeching, scathing, hurricane rock of its predecessors, the album is like listening to a series of explosions while simultaneously watching a snowy channel on a busted television set. Yeah, that does sound somewhat negative, but listening to Guitar Wolf is actually really fun, though probably not nearly as fun as seeing them play live. On almost every song you can almost see a crowd of pumping fists that triumphantly trembles as jets of blue flame and sparks erupt from microphones, guitar and bass pick-ups, over-clocked amplifiers and even kick drums.
The madness continues from “Love Rock” to the gathering rumble of “Demon Card which features a snarling en masse “Fuck You!” as well as a feedback laden ten second countdown. On “Black Hawk,” co-written by Billy (Bass Wolf) and Seiji, Billy gets to deliver his own deep growl, belting out a tune supposedly about ducking gunfire from a .44 magnum with seemingly endless ammo. The song with the best title on the album, “Time Machine of Tears,” sounds like a distorted, nostalgic pop ballad. Seiji recounts taking a time machine to see dinosaurs and propose to Cleopatra but he reflects, “The future is the only thing / The past can ever change.”
Sure, most of the songs sound similar but so do most claps of thunder. Guitar Wolf’s presence and posturing make Love Rock a listenable rock `n’ roll tsunami. Come to think of it, I’m surprised that “Rock `n’ Roll Tsunami” isn’t already a song title or album title for the noise-a-billy trio. Feel free to use it, Seiji, because I owe you above anyone else for teaching me about courage and rock and roll.
MC5 – Kick Out the Jams
Melt Banana – Scratch or Stitch
Polysics – Neu