Tuesday 13 December 2011

Mark Sultan - Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

When it comes to a record involving Mark Sultan, it's fair to say that you generally know what to expect. From his early bands through to his BBQ alias (including three great albums as part of The King Khan & BBQ Show) he's been a man who's not only looked to the past for inspiration, aping the raw guitar sounds of yore, but he's managed replicated these sounds in a way that somehow transcends mere imitation, carving out a niche of his own. Quite how this is achieved when so much is borrowed is something of a mystery, but listen to 'Whatever...' and it's clearly a Mark Sultan Record. It couldn't be anyone else.

One of the primary reasons this sound is so distinctive is the production (or lack of it, some may say). The general vibe is that of someone counting to three as a cue for the band to launch into song, then pressing down 'play' and 'record' simultaneously on an old tape recorder, possibly in a cave, and handing us the results. Everything sounds gloriously distant and trebley, with Sultan busting a lung to try and be heard above the din. The outcome of this is remarkably effective and a cut above most modern garage exponents. And the songs aren't bad either.

We're treated to a more diverse selection than that offered by others of a similar ilk. As well as some impeccable garage rock 'n' roll numbers such as 'Axis Abraxis', Satisfied And Lazy' and 'Calloused Hands' we're given the ragged doo-wop of 'Just Like Before' and 'If I Had A Polaroid', the psychedelic 'In Future Worlds', the punk thrash of 'Let Me Freeze' and the delightful, scuzzy jangle of 'Graveyard Eyes'. The only real surprise comes in the form of eight-minute closer 'For Those Who Don't Exist' which is the kind of discordant freeform jazz-rock odyssey that you'd expect from Jason Pierce. 'Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want' is the perfect title for this album as it doesn't conform, it doesn't feel forced and it goes in whichever direction it pleases. In a world of two-a-penny garage throwbacks it's a real pleasure to have a talent as gifted as Mark Sultan flying the flag.

Mark Sultan - Axis Abraxas by Wwdis Crew

Mark Sultan - Just Like Before

Mark Sultan - Graveyard Eyes

Mark Sultan - "Song In Grey" by forcefieldpr

Mark Sultan's website

Buy the album.

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