While Miami’s Lil Daggers have already made a name for themselves on 7″s and split EPs, it seems those early releases only provided a mere taste of what this group was capable. What stood out about the band’s early material was a brash rawness to their rock, ruthless in every way with the kind of punk attitude that brings to mind X, The Mummies, Gas Huffer, Green River, The Sonics, The Stooges, and so many others. As the band began hinting at a full-length album release, I was prepared to hear more of the same – and I mean that in a positive way. What I received instead was something completely unexpected, and I love them even more.
The album opens with the wicked “Wasting,” complete with booming drums, throbbing bass, tight guitars, and a level of distortion and studio ambiance that makes that kind of raw garage rock great. Somewhat unexpectedly, it reminds of Hole, The Muffs, and a number of surf rock bands that from the late 1980s and early 1990s, complete with a beautiful Farfisa organ. They get into the song, take two minutes out of their day, and boom!, off to the next song with only the reverbed last note offering anticipation of what’s to come. What happens for the next half-hour is a bit of psych-garage, complete with the kind of trippy, long drawn-out moments that can only come from the “album experience.” In other words, the singles were quick bursts of energy, and while Lil Daggers offer that a number of times on this album too, the group also allow themselves to loosen up, as they get into… I was going to say progressive moments, but it’s certainly not prog rock. That is, there are no lofty flute solos with huge gasps of breath or math rock movements, but rather the kind of music one would expect a garage rock band to lay down if they were also into the Allman Brothers Band’s jams, paired with the dark sinister tones of Velvet Underground. Wait, is that possible: a band sounding like an ABB/VU hybrid? Well, how about “Pignose,” which is acoustic in nature and has Lil Daggers’ getting into a T. Rex/Jefferson Airplane motif?
Sure, it would be too easy to hear this entire album and just rattle off every predecessor and influence just to prove a point. Lil Daggers feels like that album you could imagine your father tripping out on in the 1970s, or what I call a “back of the closet” album where it’s meant to be hidden because he doesn’t want to let mom and the kids know that he used to take some serious drugs, consume Everclear on a regular basis, and played chainsaw games with himself in order to see if he could actually see his insides. Then one day he tells you he needs a pair of shoes that’s in the closet next to your mom’s old nursing school documents. You go there and you find this record, slightly tainted due to cockroach stains and bong water drippings of unknown origin, and it feels like you may have found a holy grail. Meanwhile, your father is in the garage waiting for you to get his shoes, but he’s kicking back going “now it’s his turn.” That’s Lil Daggers, a psych-garage band who are ready to freak the hell out anyone who dares listen and embrace their music. The inevitable result will be rewarding, because these sounds are too good and too powerful to be ignored. This is a fantastic album by an incredible band who I hope will continue to explore their inner “back of the closet” selves for years to come.Visit: Lil Daggers | Limited Fanfare
Purchase: Insound | eMusic