Review ·

Regular John, a three-piece from Sydney, Australia, isn't as sludgy as one of their obvious mentors, but they nevertheless manage to get a gooey groove going on The Peaceful Atom Is a Bomb. (The name comes from a Queens of the Stone Age song.) The band may not be Green River -- the Seattle band that some say ignite the grunge era -- but it certainly channels them. Their sound also borrows but does not swipe from the immense Aussie rock legacy of which they are now a part. Echoes of many fuzzy, crusty heroes are evident, but Regular John make their own noise.

“Transmitter” is a gloriously sloppy announcement to lead off this, the band's debut. Slashing, grinding guitars build off of a huge riff, and vocalist Caleb Goman’s lazy, world-weary delivery display a confidence that never wavers throughout the 14-song set. (Since most Aussie rock holds to the orthodox belief that anything over three chords is wasted, it is easy to be confident.) The hilarious “We Spell Love…” (hint: they start with the letter “F”) and “Abbatoir Noir” are probably the most down-tuned and sludgy, though “Sedan Divide” and “Fractals” are equally mossy, with the later tossing in some psych-out loudness, a la Black Lips on meth. A few slower, almost ballad-esque tracks in the middle of the set water down the energy considerably, but there are enough goodies around them to make up for that.

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