When you’ve got an album cover with a giant, multi-headed cobra, with a lightning bolt painted on its chest, lording over a city, the album in question is either going to be unbelievably badass, or a giant disapointment. Luckily for humanity, Liquor Store’s sophomore release is an unbudging ode to being awesome. If narwhals could fly and had laser beams attached to their unicorn horns, they still wouldn’t be as great as this record.
Firstly, lets look at the style of Liquor Store, and how, based upon this, they could probably never make a bad record. They simply channel the kings of punk and garage too much for it to be an experiment in failure. MC5, Death, The Stooges; all those mad Detroit bands that more or less breathed a gallon of fire up the stale butt of rock n roll back in the day, well now they are being interpreted in turn by some New Jersey folks. Regardless of how you feel abut the crown of punk being handled by a band from a town that spawned the most awful show on the planet and Bon Jovi, you have to admit that the prospects are mouthwatering.
And so they are! ‘In the Garden’ is a record that just keeps giving. Like Obits, Parquet Courts and our very own The UV Race, Liquor Store inhale the fumes of punk and then explode all over their record with high octane shouts of excitement and ferocity. On ‘Keys to the Face’, a incomprehensible chorus that will have you jumping out of your seat rollicks along in front of a battalion of guitar, bass and piano intermingling. Oh, and did I mention there’s a solo of all solos on there as well?
There’s also the fucking epic number ‘Pile of Dirt’, a song that gets even dirtier and down-to-earth than the title would suggest. Like old-school Mudhoney summoning a boatload of demon-spawn, piling one badass riff on top of the other one. If Radio Birdman were still around today, they’d probably make songs along the lines of this one. And how could one forget ‘Titty Was Loc’d’? With a song title that makes fuck all sense to the right-thinking human being, and a shambolic, eyes-half-closed, grinning-like-a-drunken-idiot Ramones vibe, there’s no way the rock n roll lover could skip past this song.
So, to summarise, Liquor Store have come up with a record that most definitely does justice to the album cover that adorns it. Listening to Liquor Store reminds people of all the shit that made New Jersey great. Stuff like Kevin Smith movies, The Sopranos and The Misfits all spring to mind whilst a shit-eating smile spreads across your face. Sure, ‘Kick Out the Jams’ and ‘Raw Power’ are never going to be replaced as the ultimate garage rock records of all time, but maybe, just maybe, maybe, maybe ‘In the Garden’ has a place in there somewhere.