Here is the "new" offering from Montreal's finest purveyors of garage punk – The Gruesomes. This album was originally released in 2000 on the Tyrant label as a come-back album and now, thanks to the fine folks at Ricochet Sound, makes its return after a number of years in limbo alongside the wonderful Live In Hell (reviewed last month in case you want to cross-reference dear reader). It seems that although time has inevitably matured these tyrants of teen trash into monarchs of middle aged mayhem and seen their bowl cuts reduced to short back and sides it has not diluted their desire to keep churning out all manner of fuzz punk, teen-beat and general '60s inspired tomfoolery. So what you get is the classic Gruesomes blend of snappy lyrics, snotty vocals, wailing guitars and choice covers all delivered with the usual healthy dose of spit and a modicum of polish. However, this record is also a progression with some lovely farfisa driven psyche, poppy harmonies and jangly guitars. Youngsters take note – these hipsters may be ageing but they can still teach you a thing or two about how to make music the old fashioned way. Let's hope that the goresome foursome deliver another opus soon or at least before they become the gurus of geriatric grunge – even though I am quite sure they will surely outplay any young gunslinger that may care to wander into town looking to take their crown.
-Arthur Cravan/Shindig! Mag UK(June 2007)
From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)
Last issue I reviewed an excellent collection of psychedelic tunes by Canadian guitarist Gerry Alvarez. Alvarez was a founding member of the seminal 80’s garage rock band The Gruesomes. The Gruesomes came along at a time when the airwaves were saturated with electropop like Madonna and bland alt-rock like REM. It was all safe, mainstream mush for the masses. But these crazy teenagers who called themselves the Gruesomes (named after the creepy neighbours of the Flintstones) sported ridiculously long mop-tops and played raw music with a snarl and lots of attitude. It was a breath of fresh air for young Canadian music fans like myself who were sick to death of the stew of mush that the radio stations were feeding us. I remember coming home with my newly purchased copy of Tyrants of Teen Trash and giving it a spin on my turntable. Raw, crunching guitars, 60’s style garage rock melodies, and Bobby Beaton’s snotty vocals assaulted my ears and put a big smile on my face. Unlike the punk underground (which even then was well past its heyday), The Gruesomes weren’t concerned with politics or anarchy. They had the punk attitude, but their concerns were the stuff of classic teen anthems: partying, girls, surfing, hotrods, and sticking to it your parents.
The Gruesomes’ live shows became legendary, known as much for their wild antics as for their music. The band played sell out concerts across Canada in the 80’s. The Gruesomes Live In Hell is a document of one of those shows, from The Pub Flamingo in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1989. The line up for this set featured John Knoll on drums (who had replaced original drummer Eric Davis in 1987), as well as Bobby Beaton, Gerry Alvarez, and John Davis. And while you may not be able to see the stage antics, you can still hear the raw energy as the band rips their way through classics like The Theme From Bikers From Hell and My Dad’s a Ho-Dad, as well as their hits like Way Down Below and Hey! (I use the word “hits” in a relative sense, because mainstream radio avoided The Gruesomes like the plague even though they were one of the country’s most popular touring bands). The sound quality isn’t always top notch, a little wobbly at times, but what do you expect, this is garage rock, man! This one took me back, but you don’t have to have been a fan to enjoy it. The sheer youthful exuberance and raw energy is infectious as the band rocks through twenty-three great songs that fans of 60’s bands like The 13th Floor Elevators and The Seeds will love.
The Gruesomes broke up in 1990, but 10 years later the latter day line-up (the one from the live disc) reformed and recorded a brand new album called Cave-in!, but unfortunately, it didn’t see a very wide release. Well, 7 years later in 2007, The Gruesomes are still together and still rocking hard, and it was decided that Cave-in! be given a proper re-release along with the Live In Hell CD. Cave-in! finds the band in top form as it kicks things off with the title track, a fuzzed-out psychedelic surf-rock instrumental. On the vocal tracks, Bobby Beaton’s voice isn’t quite as high and youthful as it used to be, but it still has that classic snarl. One thing that is different is that all the members of the band play their instruments a little better. They sound tighter and more accomplished than ever, but still know how to rock out with wild abandon on great tunes like the gloriously cheesy organ and harmonica drenched You’re Not the Boss of Me, the raunchy Come and See Me (I’m Your Man), and the frantically brief (1 ½ minutes!) Wish You Were Her. There’s also a bit more of a melodic R&B influence on tracks like You Gotta Believe Me and You Were Not Using Your Head. The band’s song writing skills have also improved, and it finds them a little more adventurous at times, like on the swirling, psychedelic anthem Hyp-no-tized. This is the sound of a band refreshed and revitalized after a 10-year break. They’re a little more mature, but still having a great time playing classic 60’s style rock without any pretensions. It may not sound quite as exciting as it did in the mid-80’s when it sounded like nothing else out there at the time, but it’s still pure Gruesomes, and still a pure joy to listen to.
-Jeff Fitzgerald (Aural Innovations E-zine/May 2007---Issue #36)
Reviewed by: No Brain 'Zine
This is the first record I ever heard from the Gruesomes. I heard they released lot of good stuff in 80s, but unfortunately I discovered them 15 years and more later. Anyway "Cave In" album is one of the best garage punk records I ever heard - 14 tunes full of fuzz guitar, screaming vocals, very catchy... anyway music I really dig. This kind of records are difficult to describe with words. Gruesomes' music reminds me a lot of Gravedigger V, specially vocal. Actually there are 2 kinds of vocals in their songs. On the record is also written that Bobby Beaton and Garry Alvarez sing. I have feeling that vocal I like belongs to Bobby. He sings really great, straight from throat. The other vocal is also good, but I just prefer Bobby a bit more. My favorites on this album are mostly screamy songs with loads of fuzz like: "You're Not The Boss Of Me" (also has great organ and harmonica solo), "Come And See Me (I'm Your Man)" (very manic), "Wish You Were Her" (I just go crazy when I hear this guy sing), "Hyp-no-tyzed" (pretty psych and song with most beautiful melody on this record) and "One Good Reason". Of course the other songs are great too. I also have to say that production is perfect, the sound is soooo good. This is the perfect garage punk record and definitely a record you MUST have in your record collection. Well, I MUST HAVE THE OTHER GRUESOMES' RECORDS IN MINE!!!!!
The Gruesomes “Cave In” (Ricochet Sound)
More great 60's garage from those ‘tyrants of teen trash’. Originally released in 2000, “Cave In” gots the fuzz power action going on, with full stomping drums, shredding fuzzed up guitar, and groovy bass sounds. You won’t be able to control your pulsating gyrations and dancing feet and swimming arms. As I was writing this I needed to take a five minute dance break, seriously!
Reviewed by SAMIA C.(GRAVYZINE---USA--APRIL/07)
The Re-released CAVE-IN (originally issue 2000) is every thing it is claimed To be. Well conceived, rounded and with a…gasp…professional grasp of Their sound, the kitsch-wig out factor is far outweighed by their conviction And control.
Half of these songs could be still be zany left-field hits, and in One case...the quite amazing "Hyp-no-tyzed"....the Grues achieve reanimation (as opposed to mimicry) of their fave era.
Mark Lepage-(Montreal Gazette/March/07)
Ricochet Sound, Canada`s premier Garage label has re-issued the Garage Classic, "Cave In" album by The Gruesomes, the well known Canadian Garage Punksters. Originally released circa 2000 to high acclaim, the original album topped both the Canadian College & Underground Indie charts, and there`s certainally no hesitation from me in saying, it`ll do it all over again here in 2007, as the popularity of the band still exists today. Ricochet Sound points out, "Cave In never got the 'push' it deserved", until now!
The Gruesomes are Bobby Beaton & Gerry Alvarez on Vocals & Guitar, John Davis on Bass & John Knoll on Drums, formed as a garage band way back in 1985 specialising in 60`s garage covers who grew into one of Canada`s biggest selling underground acts ever before splitting up in 1990. With a back catalogue of 2 e.p`s & 4 albums as well as a best of compilation released in 2003 ensured the title of, "A First Division World Class Garage Punk & Psych Band", as the Ricochet Sound Bio adds, "There are many imitators, copy cats and wannabees but in reality there is only one "Original Tyrants Of Teen Trash" and they are The Gruesomes"
We have 14 Fun Filled Fuzz`d up tracks on the CD, 10 of which are self penned and 4 choice cover versions, The CD opens with the title track, "Cave In", a fuzz fueled guitar instro, "Stop It, Girl", the vocals are superb on this Garage monster, could have been plucked straight out of the 60`s , "You Gotta Believe Me", another damn fine tune with fuzzed up riff with 60`s styled harmonies, "You`re Not The Boss Of Me", a surefire fast paced Garage Surf Punker, "The Deal", picture the backdrop, a gogo palace and this playing in the background! outstanding!, "No No No No", another satisfying fuzz`d favourite, "Come & See Me (I`m Your Man)", 100mph 60`s influenced stomper, "Wish You Were Her", top class Garage Punker that just has to be my pick of the bunch!, so good I have to play it again! and again!, "You Were Not Using Your Head", Garage gone Funk, definite funky little number, these guy`s have got Soul!, "Serves You Right", swinging 60`s influenced rocker, "Love Got In The Way", another gruesomely addictive swinger!, "Who Dat?", could give the likes of Eric Burden & the Animals or Them a run for their money! "Hip-no-tyzed", even more fantastic fuzziness, another "must hear" tune! and sadly its the final number, "One Good Reason", pure and simple, fast paced vibrant Garage Punk at it`s best!
Famous for their smoldering live sets, the guys toured Canada, the USA & Europe playing to capacity crowds eveywhere they played, it`s time for you to capture the atmosphere of The Gruesomes for yourself, go and grab yourself a copy of "Cave In" and freakout!
Reviewed by Buster/MOD RADIO UK (APRIL 14/07)
In ritardo rispetto alla tabella di marcia mi trovo a recensire la ristampa in CD di "Cave-In!", album uscito originariamente nel 2000 e riportato in auge dalla ottima Ricochet Sound. Pochi dubbi possono essere gettati sulla materia del discutere: garage rock, della razza più pura e prestigiosa. La proposta dei canadesi risulta tanto più incisiva quanto più isolata dal concetto di "garage", le canzoni fatte e suonate "alla vecchia maniera" sono in realtà un pretesto per veicolare un'urgenza espressiva prepotente e pressante. E, come nella maggior parte dei settori, la semplicità paga. Il risultato di un ascolto senza "suggerimenti", è un'esperienza fatta di ritmi serrati, di chitarre fuzz che riacquistano il loro originario significato, di una vocalità selvaggia che mette in corto circuito testa e gambe. Senza bisogno di spiegazioni o legittimazioni da parte di nessuno. Per non sproloquiare oltre, questo disco è ben fatto, è divertente, ha la facoltà di scorrere con piacere. Il suono dei Gruesomes è ancora una volta vincente. E se vogliamo estrarre delle trace, direi che "The Deal", "Serves You Right", "You Gotta Believe Me" e "Hyp-no-tyzed" potrebbero essere un ottimo aperitivo.
The Gruesomes "Cave-In!", Ricochet Sound 2007
With a slight delay comes the review for the "Cave-In!" reissue. This Gruesomes album came out in 2000, and now it's back with a twist, courtesy of Ricochet Sound. Few doubts about what we're finding here: garage rock, of the finest breed. The music on this album gets more meaningful ....Do not put on the "garage" shelf! These are songs made and played like back in the day, like "name it you got it", with the spirit of the originals before all the words. And, like most of the time, being simple and straight forward it gives positive payback. The result of an open minded listening sums up in a mixture of upbeat rhythms, fuzz driven guitars, booming bass, and a wylde voices that puts mind and legs in a short circuit mode, without further explanations, without searching for approval from any one. Not being too verbose, the only thing to say is that this record is well written, funny, and goes on well with its own flow. The sound of The Gruesomes stands once again. And if we have to stress the attention to some tracks, please let "The Deal", "Serves You Right", "You Gotta Believe Me" and "Hyp-no-tyzed" be a good appetizer. Enjoy!
Reviewed by FABIO (retrophobic E-zine/Italy/April 15/07)
Reissue of a classic of garage rock, one not two therefore "Live in Hell" also it was reedited for Ricochet Sound, but the canadian The Gruesomes they are icons of fuzz of the 80´s, having come back later in 2000 to record this Cave-in!, that represents the best of "three-chord garage-punk trash", result had become in a reference band.