Full House Head
Label: No Quarter
I can remember my Renaissance art professor in college pontificating on the works of Florentine painter Giotto; largely considered the initial harbinger of the refined styles that would be explored in the next centuries by commissioned artists, my instructor said that what everyone got off on about Giotto’s paintings was that, for once, the figures in a painting had a realistic heft to them. This same instructor also loved to remind his students that paintings initially started with blank canvases; things that were there were there for a reason.
Giotto’s round figures painted in bold colors kept entering into my mind when listening to the latest slab-o-riff from New York’s Endless Boogie, Full House Head. Seemingly blind, deaf and dumb to any sense of the contemporary in rock music (much less indie rock), the foursome of Paul “Top Dollar’ Major, Jesper “the Governor” Eklow, Mark Ohe and Harry Druzd trade mainly in perpetual riffage whose tempos are deliberate, round and weighty. And though Endless Boogie is fond of the guitar solo, there is an economy at play here; though the running times may seem gratuitous, the never-ending jam is their raison d’être and it’s pushed along by tasteful, skilled, stinging leads.
Case in point, opener “Empty Eye,” has both Major and Eklow’s guitars weaving together to create a sinewy lurch through nine minutes. Top Dollar bleats nonsensical lines like, “Full house head/ Black toolshed!” and halfway through, a lead with a tone reminiscent of Billy Gibbons’ more trebly moments slices through the fat with precision. “Tarmac City” is a much briefer, rough-and-tumble number, its own solo just the right midrangey crunch to make the tune a little bit more special than the competent bar band material it is. “Slow Creep” takes almost 11 minutes to build to a crescendo and its restrained midnight-hour burn makes it a highlight. “Mighty Fine Pie” is the lyrical peak of Full House Head, with Top Dollar needing no fork, promising to eat said double entendre with his hands.
Though Giotto de Bondone’s works may stand the test of time, just as his status as innovator will be unchallenged, Endless Boogie’s material isn’t necessarily anything you haven’t heard before. They’re a little too composed to be AC/DC, a little too garagey and East Coast to be like ZZ Top, too tasteful to be like Foghat and too straightforward and clean to be like Superjudge-era Monster Magnet. Full House Head is located somewhere in someone’s hard rock Venn diagram, and while not a watershed moment in rock by anyone’s imagination, it sounds different enough from what else is happening to be spin-worthy.