We like to heap reams of praise on albums that were recorded in short time frames but don’t sound like it. There’s something about a quick completion time that speaks to the rush of modern life; most of us wait till the last minute to finish projects, so why shouldn’t our bands do the same? But Almighty Defenders’ self-titled debut is one of the rare albums that actually sounds like it was recorded in no more than 10 days. There’s no way you’ll confuse the hardly recorded and lowest-of-lo-fi group choruses and overwhelming goofiness found on Almighty Defenders with something that took months upon months in the studio.
Almighty Defenders really should have worked, though, considering no one is expecting a group made up of King Khan, Mark “BBQ” Sultan and the Black Lips -- Nuggets pilferers, all -- to engage in vast studio mastery. Recorded in eight days when the Black Lips were “booted” from India in a made-for-Vice Magazine “controversy,” Almighty Defenders unfortunately never quite adds up to its pedigree, lacking the retro revivalism of Khan's or Sultan’s work, or the drug-fueled menace of the Black Lips’ oeuvre.
If you lop off the track-list-stretching second half of the album, however (which boasts a punishing stretch of directionless tracks that all sound like they were thought-out for two minutes and recorded in three), there is a small amount of pleasure to be had here, principally in the purposefully demented love ballad “Bow Down and Die” and the Sultan-led “Cone of Light.” They’re the only two moments when a Justice League-like team-up of these garage rockers yields anything substantial, with both reveling in their bleary-eyed, sloppy execution.
But minus those two tracks, all you’re left with is the sinking feeling that even the dudes that made this album aren’t going to care about it in a week. And maybe that’s the point.
The Almighty Defenders came about after the Black Lips were forced to high-tail it out of India following a show gone awry and lay low at the Berlin crash pad of the mighty King Khan. Partner in crime BBQ (ne Mark Sultan) was present as well, and rather than waste time telling old war stories the boys recorded an album. Commemorating a death cult summit of Rat Pack-ian proportions, the album combines elements of the Black Lips insouciant garage jangle and Khan & BBQ’s grimy doo-wop-isms, but adds some serious sanctifying and testifying too. Clearly meant to be a one off, the album works a pretty mean mojo hand nonetheless.
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