There must be something in what little water there is in the deserts of California. The music that comes out of there simply has something different to it. Musicians focus on heavy bass tones and guitars are fuzzy. Very fuzzy. That format is continued with the LA-based trio Anesthetic Frank. Since their inception, they've shared the stage with members of Black Flag and Queens of the Stone Age. They were even a part of the Make Music Pasadena Festival, which also featured acts like Sleeping At Last and Taken By Trees.
The album, Mordrake, explores the balance of good and evil, primarily through its namesake. Edward Mordrake was supposedly born into a very noble family in England in the 19th century. That, in and of itself, is not remarkable. What is remarkable is that he is supposed to have been born with what he called a "demon face" that whispered to him in his sleep. If he was real, then he lost the battle with the thoughts that his other face gave him and took his life at the age of 23.
All of that is to say that the content on this album is decidedly dark, which matches perfectly with the music. Though the band is not from the Palm Desert, they follow in the footsteps of and pay homage to the sound of that city. Their punk influence manages to shine through in the speed of songs like "Big Bree.” You can hear the heavy metal of the 70's in the guitar riffs on "He Is Risen.” "Fix It" and "Barbara's Runnin Her Damn Mouth Again" hit you right in the gut, the guitars are tuned so low. As I listen, I'm amazed that they are able to make sounds that low audible to human ears. I seem to be able to feel the guitars more than actually hear.
Though the album was recorded in a studio, it has a very lo-fi tone that suits the music. Vocals are quite low in the mix and come off as audible apparitions. As I listened, I sometimes wondered if I was hearing words that they were speaking or words from the face that is apparently on the back of my head now. The album continues on much the same path, "De La Torre" includes a much more rumbly drumbeat while "Summer Blur" is almost catchy, with guitars that remind me of The Darkness if they sliced the speakers on their amps with knives.
It can't be denied that this album is meant to be played loud while you're driving through the desert. In fact, that is the band's goal. I just suggest you listen with a friend because it could get creepy otherwise.
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