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Radio Moscow: The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz

Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter
Label: Alive Naturalsound
Format: CD

And there was little me thinking that they don’t make them like this anymore. Sounding like it was made way back in the glory days of the 60's at last there is a contemporary band who sound like they could give the likes of Blue Cheer a run for their money just by the sheer power and volume of the sound they make on ‘The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz’. Yes, really.

It’s all here even though the trio (on stage at least, on record main man Parker Griggs not only handles those heavily–indebted-to Hendrix guitar solos but also occupies the drum stool. Yep, quite a guy it would appear) don’t really add anything to the proto-metal blues that made Blue Cheer, Hendrix and, of course, Cream appeal to so many. Add a little Grand Funk Railroad, Iron Butterfly and even a smidgen of early Black Sabbath and you have ‘The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz’.

But that’s the whole point. Who can we turn to when we want to hear new songs done in that style? There are very few bands who can match the work of those 60's groups, but Radio Moscow are obviously the exception. No matter how many times we purchase the latest edition of ‘Electric Ladyland’ (I embarrassingly admit that my CD total of that album currently stands at four) it’s the same old songs, brilliant though they are. And don’t even get me started on the re-mastering. The second issue on Polydor still sounds the best to these ears…we waited years for Blue Cheer’s ‘Vincebus Eruptum’ and ‘Outside Inside’ to make it to CD so we could replace our worn out vinyl which kept us happy for a while but that was eight years ago now and again, it’s the same old song. Thankfully Radio Moscow has injected new life into this almost forgotten genre.

‘The Great Escape…’ is the band’s third album but, I’m ashamed to admit, the first that I’ve come across. Listening now to samples from their previous albums it sounds like this latest offering is their most psychedelic yet. While never straying too far from their heavy blues/rock roots the psychedelia quota seems to have increased somewhat over these twelve songs.

Apart from being almost shocked that a modern band are not only playing and writing this type of music but doing so extremely well, there is also the revelation which is Parker Griggs to take in. Not only is Griggs an extremely proficient guitarist and an able singer but his drumming skills are also impressive. It’s almost as if he is too good to be true. But it’s also obvious that Griggs is not just playing the part, much like Jack White, Griggs feels the music he plays, becomes part of it and therefore doesn’t come away sounding like a fake. Griggs not only loves the music he has brought to a new, young audience, but he lives it.

In choosing Zach Anderson for bass duties Griggs also proves that he understands that having a brilliant and innovative lead guitarist isn’t enough for this type of music, and Anderson proves to be an ideal choice with his powerhouse bass contributions.

Radio Moscow have just released one hell of an album.

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