Barkmarket – L. Ron

5 out of 5

Label: American

Produced by: D. Sardy

What to say, what to say…

I accept that this is Barkmarket at their most radio-esque, very akin to another New York sludge rawk group’s larger profile release around the same time – Cop Shoot Cop’s Release on Interscope, probably not coincidentally recorded by Barkmarket’s Dave Sardy – with Sardy growling angsty missives atop Rick Rubin’s American Records’ signature low-end heavy sound, as the band leader himself continued to be courted as a top tier producer, having proven quite capable – on previous Barky discs – of producing the shit out of his own material.  …But whatever we’d come to expect from the funk spasms of Vegas Throat, or the maniacal sprawl of Gimmick, or the punk-tinged Lardroom material, it was all trumped by the swan song. of L. Ron.  Radio-esque, sure, but holy christ is it a bundle of noisy dynamics and fury, kicking off with the booming and weird Visible Cow (sort of a dare against claims of accessibility the following tracks might allow) before slinking and sliding and Rock Savage’s drums a’pounding into the aggressive threats of Feed Me and I Don’t Like You; the clever sneer of How Are You? and Shiner.  Throughout, Sardy displays his masterful skills of balancing rawness (the rumble of his throat, that shredding guitar and thick bass) with unbelievable live-in-yr-room clarity; all the best bits of a live and studio recording welded together.  The sequencing on L. Ron also assists it in keeping things trucking for its whole runtime, waiting to hit the brakes on pounding your eardrums ’til album’s end, with the oddball slink of John Nowlin’s concluding Bootless.  His Barkmarket contributions are always notably different, and tend to he somewhat disruptive as a result, but by placing it at album’s end, you appreciate the break in the assault and can dig the track’s unique sound.

Still to this date one of the heaviest records ever recorded, maintaining an intelligent design and inherent catchiness throughout.