California X

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California X are a 3 piece trio from Amherst, Mass, the same hometown as one J. Mascis. And while there are some similarities to the guitar driven, riff heaviness of Dinosaur Jr, California X shines through with their own identity. The album is their eponymous debut, and while it may not be groundbreaking or wildly creative, it is a fun, rollicking ride. “Sucker” starts the album off with a couple of heavy distorted guitar strums and a vicious drum beat. Then comes the addictive guitar riff.  It is a fantastic opener, and gives you a precursor to the energy and passion this crew possesses. “Pond Rot” lives up to its name with sludgy, mucky and distorted guitars.  There are a couple of Dino Jr-esque riffs thrown in for good measure.  The surf rock side of Cali X comes in to play with “Hot Hed.”  Let’s face it, there are chunks of garage rock here, a couple slabs of grunge there, a plethora of guitar driven rock genres are put into the mix. Some of the more recent bands that fall into this category are The Men and Yuck, but Yuck bring out the nostalgia a little more with their 90’s indie rock sound, and The Men are more indebted to the post-hardcore sound. Regardless though, if you are a fan of bands that like to wield their axes and put guitar distortion front and center, California X is an album you will enjoy immensely. I have found myself going back to this album more than any other so far in this early 2013. It’s cool. It’s fun. But more importantly, it has a feeling of youthful vibrance and an air of confidence. Frontman Lemmy Gurtowsky plays the guitar with a purpose and shreds through riff after riff.  This is put into effect front and center with the song that bears his name, “Lemmy’s World.” The album ends with a great fist-pumping guitar solo on “Mummy” while leaving you with a smile on your face and craving more. California X has a bright future and this is a great opening statement for Lemmy and the boys. Was it a game changer? No. Did it pull any new tricks out of the bag. Not really. But an album like this doesn’t really need to. It has enough firepower and grit in its 33 minutes to give you the adrenaline rush that you’ve been looking for.