3 out of 5
Label: Skin Graft Records
Produced by: Blake Flemming (executive producer)
Mount Shasta specialize in a guzzled bar band sound, loud and sloppy, shoved through a blender of incoherence that’s spat on by John Forbes’ guttural spouts. Rob Syers’ bathroom stall artwork on their albums captured the vibe especially well, and also seemed to be a good visual reference point for the label they’d call home – Skin Graft Records. But while other groups on the label would stretch more into noise or hardcore or “no-wave,” Shasta remained resolutely sweaty and rocky, though they did sharpen things up significantly as they went along – and somehow without leaving behind their inherent bull-in-china-shop swaggery sound.
Back on their debut, Put the Creep On, the group is still careening between some extremes to get their balance, drunkenly plowing ahead with straight-on rockers, and then doing some dances with deconstruction on looser numbers that featured stop-start riffs and hoots and hollers from Forbes. The latter stuff is loud, and fun, but it’s also without structure and so doesn’t stick in the memory very long. The standouts are the tracks where the group actually maintains something of a verse-and-chorus structure, such as the rip-roaring opener Fired, and tracks like Stella or 1/2 Mast. In the middle of the album, Shasta flashes some post-rock experimentation on Zanphonic, showing that the formula would have room to grow beyond this point, but then retreats back to loud and brawly rawk.
The one-session recording nature of the record gives it an appreciable off-the-cuff feel, the album just can’t quite exceed opening act vibes.