Still a relatively tripped-out affair

New Jersey’s favourite sons of supercharged stadium space rock have been unleashed yet again, half a decade after previous LP Last Patrol.

Chipping away most of the psychedelic residue from their expansive and billowing last release, the sound of Mindfucker is defined by a  straightforward and shuddering crunch; a wall of sound charging ahead with full-throttle adrenaline. Through ten thundering tracks of proto-punk, slick, foreboding guitar and endless riffs, Dave Wyndorf and company shake and swing through such tracks as ‘Brainwashed’, ‘Want Some’ and a cover of ‘Ejection’ by Robert Calvert (Hawkwind), sticking true to their cosmic roots.

Never a band to beat around the proverbial bush, a four count of hi-hat launches us into the gritty stomp of the first track, ‘Rocket Freak’, in which Wyndorf sings about his favourite girl and the end of the world, before the booming chords of ‘Soul’ take us into an agile, snake-like groove reminiscent of the garage-rock heard on The Stooges’ Funhouse and ‘1970’. The title track maintains this feel and pace, Wyndorf’s echoing vocals resonating above a slab of distortion and fuzzy licks; “you’re a mindfucker baby, what you do to my head, you’re a mindfucker baby, set fire to my bed”. The last minute of the track descends into punk panic with frenzied solos, and jackhammer drums before collapsing before the spacious atmospherics of ‘I’m God’. Wyndorf’s spoken-word intro builds tension whilst dripping in trademark cool, and then we’re back into a barrelling, direct yet expansive groove, topped off nicely with wah-wah and tremolo that simmers down into a lysergic haze of swirling guitars and vocal details before one final chorus.

Throughout this LP, our lead singer’s voice is refreshingly unrestrained, wide and raw, wailing with particular abandon on the choruses of ‘I’m God’, and ‘Mindfucker’. Impressive to think, now that Dave Wyndorf is in his early 60s. In the next song ‘Drowning’, a subsequent respite from previous volume is complimented with a subdued croon, in this, the most doomed of all tracks on the LP, climaxing with grand descending riffs and guitar flourishes, with the lyric “I’m drowning, and it’s all because of you”.

Throughout these ten tracks, we hear three merging phases of Monster Magnet; straight-ahead garage punk (‘Mindfucker’, ‘Ejection’), cool and shady doom-rock tracks (‘I’m God’, ‘Drowning’) and fuzzy desert rock (‘Want Some’, ‘When The Hammer Comes Down’), all equally garnished with the rude attitude of Wyndorf and plenty of acid-tinged licks, underpinned with an ultimate ethos of cool. Some extremely tasty guitar work to be heard too, detailed with maracas for that 70s vibe… One overall highlight is the ballsy, lumbering riff of ‘When The Hammer Comes Down’, overdriven and nasty, the perfect closing track. As this IS a Monster Magnet album after all, Mindfucker is still a relatively tripped-out affair, burning off most of the hallucinogens of Last Patrol however, to remain hard-rock, rather than a psychedelic rock LP. Wherever Wyndorf and Co. blast off to next on this cosmically fried desert journey remains to be seen.

  1. Rocket Freak
  2. Soul
  3. Mindfucker
  4. I’m God
  5. Drowning
  6. Ejection
  7. Want Some
  8. Brainwashed
  9. All Day Midnight
  10. When the Hammer Comes Down