Dusted Reviews

Liquor Store - Yeah Buddy

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Liquor Store

Album: Yeah Buddy

Label: Almost Ready

Review date: Aug. 23, 2011

Sarim Al-Rawi started Liquor Store with friends from northern New Jersey, presumably to start trouble and mess with people at shows under the guise of being an Internet legend on Terminal Boredom. He used to play drums in Titus Andronicus, Home Blitz and Live Fast Die, where he eventually moved up to guitar. But as the other bands in his social orbit — TA, Real Estate, Ducktails, Big Troubles — began to attract critical attention, Liquor Store took a cue to look elsewhere, and started to make Rock Music with initial caps, borne of suburban bounty and room to rage. Once you get the obligations to society and one’s fellow man out of the way, you can pretty much write your own ticket. Yeah Buddy personifies that attitude. They’re the best band out of that whole scene by a comfortable distance.

Yeah Buddy‘s garish cover art and monochromatic non-flourish sells the album short. This is a massive load of rock and roll fired directly at your chest, the most unabashedly crude and unassumingly genius album of its kind to come out since The Dictators’ Go Girl Crazy more than 35 years ago. How can anyone else compete with the muscle-memory thickness of a band that starts its debut double LP with the lyrics“Goin’ down to the basement / Gonna pick up some weights”? Al-Rawi sings them with a nasally yawp that’s somewhere between Squiggy and Mr. Bill, the perfect voice to front a band that seems not the slightest bit concerned with decorum. Their band photo is of some of the guys, standing near a van, crowded around beloved Howard Stern wack packer Beetlejuice. These guys play like they could party a house into rubble, and probably have. Al-Rawi’s tone ensures that there were few left inside before the demolition.

Liquor Store masters one thing that most rock bands forget: how to rock. Their music employs big, solid riffs flung from multiple electric guitars (down to three or four from a career high of seven), memorable choruses, tons of energy, and a full production from Kevin McMahon, who also produced Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor. Al-Rawi’s multi-tracked vocals dart all around the actual music through effects and loops (thank Butthole Surfers for this technique). But the message stays the same: half-thought reminiscences of opiates prescribed for dental pain (“Oilin’ Up My Boy”), odes to masturbation (“Jerkin’ It”), fantasies about Chewbacca and family slaying their enemies (“Showdown at Wookie Lake”), and fan mail to the Governator (“Commando”) that smack of off-the-cuff reminiscences, the kind of thoughts one writes on the way to the studio. By the time he screams the album title in one of the breakdowns for “Detroit Weirdness,” either you’re gonna be throwing their album out the window, or you’ll be looking to sell the rest of the albums in your collection.

All of Yeah Buddy is delivered with gusto and rambunctious style, so much so that the record starts to run out of steam by side 4. What came before pushes it well over the finish line, and possibly off the George Washington Bridge. That’s not a diss — it’s a display of Liquor Store’s awesome, endless power, which they backhand with a reckless spirit into your personal space over and over. If they didn’t sound so great, if they didn’t really believe in the lyrics to “Gas Station,” for instance, this would have gone very wrong very quickly. It’s great to hear something that overcomes the odds for such a stale genre as garage rock, just like it’s fun to walk into someone else’s establishment and act like you own the place — because for all everyone else knows, you do.

By Doug Mosurock

Read More

View all articles by Doug Mosurock

Find out more about Almost Ready

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.