Rifferama | Bleader

Rifferama

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On their fourth proper album, the confusingly titled VI (Drag City), the Fucking Champs continue to write every great hard rock riff lost in the 70s and early 80s. They don’t bother with words and solos, just an endless profusion of killer licks neatly strung together with a mighty rhythmic crunch that morphs enough to produce songs. Trans Am guitarist Phil Manley has joined the lineup, alongside guitarist Tim Green and drummer Tim Soete—as usual, the bass isn’t really missed. The new album does feature an odd, drumless reading of the old hymn “Abide With Me," famously recorded by Thelonious Monk on the album Monk’s Music, and a brief song called “Insomnia” that's little more than new-age synth noodling. Otherwise, it’s wall-to-wall riffage. As hard as it is resist these reductionist gems, sometimes the music feels like an intellectual exercise no matter how visceral the pleasure gets. The band performs tonight at the Empty Bottle.

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