The Amplifier Heads – Rectifier
As is the habit, January is a time to look back on the previous year and see what we may have missed. Seems we made at least one glaring omission. The Amplifier Heads’ Rectifier.
Sal Baglio has to be the hardest working guy in show business (apologies to James Brown). Rectifier is the 4rth Amplifier Heads album in so many years, if my count is correct. Chock full o’ the kind of cultural references that made past albums such as Music for Abandoned Amusement Parks so irresistible, Baglio’s new one may be short in terms of length but it covers a lot of territory.
Nine songs in all, it’s a rock ’n’ roll smorgasbord. From glam to power pop. British Invasion to garage. You can hear it all in under 30 minutes. For those who were too young to remember 70’s radio, Sal gives them a rock ’n’ roll history lesson. For those of us who listened to Cousin Brucie, Richard Neer or any number of old school radio DJs with our transistor radios held to our ears, it’s a fabulously fun trip down memory lane.
“Tape Deck” is a nice blues infused number. The surprisingly good “Monsters” will sneak up on you. That’s if the infectiously clever “Zombie Moon” hasn’t already eaten your brain. Then, there’s the killer of all killer tracks. “Space Cadette”. It reminds me of The Fleshtones at their peak. Hell. I couldn’t stop dancing. My wife had to call the guys in the white coats to come take me away.
They’ll be here any minute. Gotta run.
You can get The Amplifier Heads’ Rectifier at their Bandcamp page. GET IT HERE.
I had posted this review in Metronome, but it bares repeating:
“Rectifier”—the new CD by The Amplifier Heads—is just that: a reconciliation of head amp-head Sal Baglio’s embrace and tussle with straightforward rock and roll and the more adventurous melodic pop that often characterizes his prolific output. This is the fourth edition of his Covid-era fury of releases: the brilliant and brooding “Music for Abandoned Amusement Parks”; “Loudah”—the title which speaks for itself; and “Saturnaliens”—guitaronaut Baglio’s wit-driven escape into space and beyond. As I’m inclined towards his pop musings, I was stunned by the trickery he employs with “Rectifier”. Infusing what first sounds like boilerplate rock, the bridges and ‘middle eights’ (couldn’t resist) are unto themselves dazzling melodic Baglio turns. Hooks are hooks, but these turns actually twist and could easily stand by themselves as emblematic of how an accomplished and obsessive student of the guitar can weed out rock cliches and replant the form with organic guitar-based song-smithing. All the tunes are outstanding for the reasons above, but I have to single out “Headhunter” as the near-perfect representation of how Baglio honors his pop muse without compromising the assured rock industry of “Rectifier.” And “Zombie Moon” left me in stitches. Baglio composed everything here, handles the vocals with typical sonority and fury, and accomplishes quite a bit of the instrumentation, joined with typical aplomb by Kevin Rapillo on drums and Brad Hallen on bass. The production mixes are first-rate: Warren Babson of ‘Bang-a-Song Studio,’ Gloucester; and Ducky Carlisle (“Space Cadette”) of ‘Ice Station Zebra,’ Medford. Good company, and another gem from Mr. Baglio, who has not lost a step since the retirement of the beloved Stompers. (em)