Atlanta’s Bleach Garden have been around a long while, and it’s nice to finally see this band blossom into what they’ve wanted to be. I’ve seen the trio play at least eight or nine times, mostly years ago, but they were always an electrifying band to watch, slamming out hard-charging originals and the occasional Nirvana cover in their plaid and ripped jeans.
Their latest release, An Immodest Motive, is a bludgeoning punch of aggressive punk and grunge from start to finish. Vocalist and guitarist Joey Bertini moans out his words like Cobain, but there’s an intensity in his vocals that keeps them from slipping into mere hero worship. Balancing hooks and heft, the band’s fuzzed-out riffs and metallic grooves may carry a nostalgic, flashback type feel, but what’s applauding about this record is its ability to both embrace and strive past its obvious ’90s reverence. This isn’t just ANOTHER band doing ANOTHER glorified grunge record; its formidable stoner rock approach gives it a modern edge that feels vital and fresh.
If you’re looking for a standout track, make sure to crank up EP closer “Earful of Gas.” Starting off with a radio recording of War of the Worlds, the track quickly transitions into ferocious guitars and pounding drums while Bertini screams his damn lungs out. Its assertive approach is breathtaking, resembling stoner gods Sleep rather than grunge legends Mudhoney. Clocking out at eleven-and-a-half minutes, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
At this point in time I don’t see Bleach Garden slowing down anytime soon, and for fans of dynamic, go-for-broke hard rock, that’s exciting. This band is on a full-throttle ride; this record does nothing but prove that to the listener.