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Groundhogs - Hogwash CD (album) cover




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4.02 | 26 ratings

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4 stars After the disappointing Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs! The Groundhogs came back with one of the best albums of their career. In fact Hogwash even rivals the mighty Split.

From the opening I Love You Miss Ogyny (geddit?) we're back in business. Who Will Save The World? lacked the inventive riffs and tunes. Not so here - Miss Ogyny has some great Tony "TS" McPhee playing, the track full of light and shade moments against harder riffing. New drummer Clive Brooks, formely of Egg keeps a simpler solid rhythm than his previous band would have required.

You Had A Lesson is just as good. A stop/start unison guitar/bass patern takes hold with TS weaving between and Brooks pinning it all down solid as a rock. There's arguably the bands best use of mellotron here too. Long serving bassist Pete Cruickshank powers the track along and is well up in the mix. A great guitar solo from TS ends as the rhythm speeds up.

The Ringmaster is a thankfully short throwaway track - a drum solo drenched in reverb and echo and not the greatest you'll have heard but we're soon into the best track on the album - 3744 James Road. It's the band at their most explosive; once again the lighter shades making the powerful riffs stronger. Mid song we're given an extended and inspired TS solo which builds back into the chorus to end.

Side 2 of the original vinyl version struggles to live up to the excellence of side1 though still has some very strong material. Sad Is The Hunter is another hard rocking piece with TS taking every opportunity to stick in one of his inventive guitar solos, which he seems to do very frequently. S'One Song is a simple mid paced rocker with an unexpected change of tack midway with some aggressive riffing and soloing. The mellotron gets another look in on Earth Shanty, storm effects in the background which gives way to an acoustic guitar/vocal verse. The mellotrons back as the full band kicks in for this atmospheric and more restrained song.

The album closes with an acoustic blues in the vein of Ground Hog from Split. A tribute to blues player John Lee Hooker titled Mr Hooker, Sir John reminding us that no matter how experimental TS may get with guitar sounds and mellotrons that The Groundhogs were/are primarly a blues rock band.

Overall then one of the bands best, in fact the band would never consistently reach such musical heights again, Hogwash along with Split and Thank Christ For The Bomb capturing them at their most inspired.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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