Guitar Wolf is absolutely fucking crazy. And it also appears that they’re unstoppable. Rock `n’ Roll Etiquette is the leather and sunglasses clad Japanese garage rock trio’s second album to be released on Narnack this year, though it is a reissue of an album released earlier in the band’s native Japan. Lucky Yanks that we are, we get a bonus track, two re-mixed tracks and an entirely remastered version of the album. But, to Guitar Wolf, what is remastering? I, for one, have no clue, for the album sounds as messy and grimy as it most likely ever did. And that’s the way that Guitar Wolf is meant to be enjoyed.
As per usual, the band is on full frontal assault on R.R.E., playing it loud, sloppy and balls-out. There don’t appear to be any stops between opener “God-Speed-You” and closer “The Way I Walk,” but there is no shortage of great, raw rock `n’ roll on this disc. “Sore Loser” has some truly awesome riffage and “Drives With Wolves” rides a slinky, distorted bassline that’s just a little bit sexier than the one-two-fuck-you garage punk of the first half of the album. The echoing vocals of “Earth Love” are pretty badass, as well. But I think my personal favorite is the bluesy “Teardrop.” For a real trip, though, check out their cover of “Route 66.”
But music aside, there doesn’t seem to be anything more amusing than Guitar Wolf’s over-the-top “we are rock `n’ roll” lyrics. Take “Murder by Rock” for instance: “Rock `n’ roll/ Rock `n’ roll/ Rock `n’ roll/ Rock `n’ roll/ Murder by Rock!!!” Those are the only lyrics in the entire minute and forty-two seconds of the song. Or how about “Drives With Wolves,” which goes, “Hey girl, come drive with a wolf!!!” and “Three Am Noodle Shop,” in which Seiji sings “Leather jacket/ leather pants/ slurpin’ up soup/ write off all my woes.”
Guitar Wolf will always be welcome in the stereos of those in need of serious rocking, and thanks to Narnack, there’s one more album for us to enjoy. But garage rock impostors need not apply. So look out Howlin’ Pelle Almquist, because you are crime and Guitar Wolf is law.
Iggy and the Stooges – Raw Power
Teengenerate – Get Action
Mooney Suzuki – Electric Sweat
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.