On March 22, The Battery Electric released Goin’ Wild, the Asbury Park-originated soul-punk band’s first full-length album in four years. The record is a blast of fun from those Devils in Denim. Photo by Danny Clinch.
For nearly 40 years I have worked in two industries that have been decimated by the Internet. The rubble that remains of the media and music industries has been so badly compromised by the need for clicks in order to stay alive, it sickens and saddens me. What makes it is worse is that the great Asbury Park-originated, L.A.-based soul-punk band The Battery Electric don’t have the record deal that they deserve for their awesome blast of a new album, Goin’ Wild. They have some cool stuff going on with the new North Jersey indie Gruesome Twosome, such as colored vinyl. And the band seem to be handling their digital distribution and promotion nicely, but this 11-song collection should be embraced and blasted into the stratosphere by what’s left of the music and media industries. It’s a cultural crime that it hasn’t, and if there is any rock ‘n’ roll justice, it will be.
Take a dash of Chuck Berry, a spot of The Stones, a drop of James Brown and mash in some KISS and The Ramones, and you have the blast that is The Battery Electric’s long- awaited LP, their first full-length since 2015’s The Heart and the Thrill on the Asbury indie Little Dickman Records. This is a good-time party record, the kind I listened to growing up in the ’70s by bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Foghat, Cheap Trick and, of course, KISS, the kind that you would roll joints on, the seeds stuck in the spine.
Produced by Dave Catching and Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal in their Rancho De La Luna studio, in Joshua Tree, Calif., the fun kicks off with “Hell or High Water.” The ’50s-style rave-up in the punk tradition of The Cramps seems to be inspired by the 2016 Oscar-nominated film starring Chris Pike, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges, as well as recording in the desert.
Next up is “Bad Vibe Baby,” one of several ragged, dirty-sounding tunes that dichotomously feature sweet, polished backing vocals by guitarist Brent Ovar Bergholm, bassist Alex Rosen and drummer Kevin Troeller. The gritty vox of Capt. Fun, front man Ron Santee, also works great alongside his canary-like crew on the all-too-brief bad-boy influence of “Set You Right,” as well as four re-recorded previously released tracks:
Another standout is the title track, a cross between the dirty edge of MC5, the rootsy flamboyance of Mott the Hoople and the breathless spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis. “Goin’ Wild” features a great guitar battle between Bergholm and Catching, as well as backing vocals by Nick Oliveri of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age.
I also love the infectious fun of “Can’t Dance,” a sassy, swaggering rhythm fest, complete with tambourine and cowbell, which sounds like KISS circa “Love Gun” or “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” Hughes also comes out from behind the board to sing on this one too.
I don’t know when The Battery Electric will be heading back home to Asbury, but when they do, they’ll be armed with a great record with which to party. I hope in the meantime, it gets the attention it deserves.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at email@example.com. And like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.