A comment from Cliff on yesterday’s playlist arrived earlier: “Also, Endless Boogie, more of the same?”
It’s difficult to imagine, I suppose, how a band called Endless Boogie could suddenly embark on a radical change of direction. “Full House Head” starts running more or less where its awesome predecessor, “Focus Level”, left off: streamlined rhythms, epic jams, some justifiably strong doses of Canned Heat, Beefheart (with particular attention paid, perhaps inevitably, to “I’m Gonna Booglarise You Baby”), a lot of early ‘70s stuff that I should be more familiar with (someone mentioned Stackwaddy last time), a lot of early ‘70s stuff that almost no-one – save Endless Boogie frontman Paul Major, a reputedly olympian rare record collector –will probably be familiar with.
If anything, though, “Full House Head” stretches the bug-eyed motoring ethos of Endless Boogie even further, elevating the lost art of choogling to almost transcendental levels: moments of the 11-minute “Slow Creep”, for example (a song title as reductively blatant as their band name), vaguely suggest “Dog Of Two Head” recalibrated as a meditational tool.
The song which precedes “Slow Creep”, conversely, “Tarmac City”, pushes up the pace to a more frenzied level than usual, and betrays what may well be a useful familiarity with the Stones circa “Exile”, albeit a Stones wrangled into a different, Beefheartish shape. It’s here, and on the heroically dumb “Mighty Fine Pie”, that a weird comparison with a band I must admit I’ve never liked, Oasis, recurs from “Focus Level”. It’s pretty implausible, and it doesn’t help explain why I like Endless Boogie so much. But maybe that doggedly relentless streamlining of classic rock, that Oasis came up with on things like “Shakermaker”, has found an unlikely underground analogue here.
Don’t let this put you off, of course. It’s a strange, fleeting allusion, and one healthily bulldozed by the two straight-up classics that bookend this heartily enjoyable album. “Full House Head” opens with “Empty Eye”, a wiry nine-and-a-half minute choogle in the dust trails of ZZ Top that culminates in a needling face-off between Major and a guesting Matt Sweeney. “A Life Worth Leaving”, meanwhile, is a monolithic jam that gradually picks up psychedelic momentum over a mighty 22 and a half minutes, occasionally entering the sort of cosmic zones that I always hoped the stoner/desert rock set of the late ‘90s might shoot for more often.
Needless to say, it sounds like it would absolutely kill live, which makes next Wednesday’s Endless Boogie show for us at Club Uncut an even more exciting prospect. If you’re still not convinced, check this monster out on Youtube.