Endless Boogie

Long Island

Sometimes you look at a band and you just know. Endless Boogie is like that – grizzled East Coast heads that play fucked up rock & roll long and slow, formed via the international record collecting scene. They look like the kind of guys you might find adding cheap bourbon to greasy reheated coffee in a 24 hour New Jersey diner before a 12 hour night shift. They make a raw and semi improvised racket in perpetual motion, heavy on groove and subtle detail, circular and rough shod. And although the idea of the jam band may call to mind a hazy spectre of Deadhead archivists arguing the toss over ‘Dicks Picks’ volume 18 or 34, Endless Boogie are nothing of the sort. Long Island, the band’s sixth LP, never tells you what you don’t need to know.

What Long Island captures is the warm sound of the room in full flow – it’s a live album, really, recorded in a studio but improvised on the spot. Background imperfections are audible, the odd yelp of approval from afar, numerous clicks and buzz and hiss. There are two modes of attack – full on boogie or outer reach freakout, and often both are hit on the same track at differing points. ‘The Savageist’ begins as a cranked up fuzz attack anchored by a simple four note vamp, and ends as wild flailing ritual replete with squalling guitar drills as vocalist Top Dollar (‘Top Dollar’!) grunts about ‘the devil in my bed’.

Indeed Dollar has a magnificent voice – less ‘whiskey drenched’ and more ‘hell hound on raki’. It makes Tom Waits sound like Geddy Lee although he doesn’t use it much, favouring frequent interjections over a full on delivery. There is a swaggering menace and great dark romance to these vocal theatrics too; in a voice of less experience they could come across as hoary but Dollar spits em’ out with such violence… "just taking out the trash… I got my face in eggs and hash”.

‘The Montgomery Manuscript’ brings to mind the current incantation of Swans, humming with swirling tension and endless hard focussed build, the boogie momentarily replaced by searing transcendental light. The section in which Dollar lists women’s names is particularly dramatic, leaving the listener to ponder an unknowable significance… "Margaret, Sei Chi, Olivia, Ca..the..rine, Sammy’s Romanian… the hitch!".

‘Occult Banker’ is a souk of squall, massive slabs of rising fuzz and fat concave drum fills knocking around. ‘On Cryology’ is a mellower affair, returning to a hazy blues based stumble shot through with 70s New York atmosphere – dime bags on the brownstone steps, kinetic energy tempered by heat haze and too many beers. This is fine American blue collar slackness, a paean to the continuing vibe of real boogie, in thrall to the body moving joy formidable – and no retro exercise either. Rather, it’s living musical authenticity that hasn’t stopped to look in the mirror too many times and dances like no one gives a shit, the good times rolling on down the years. Why stop?

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