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Awesome Color - Massa Hypnos

  by Jon Rogers

published: 7 / 6 / 2010

Awesome Color - Massa Hypnos
Label: Ecstatic Peace
Format: CD


Vitalic and enthusiastic, but often bland Stooges and MC5-influenced third album from Brooklyn-based trio, Awesome Color

This US rock trio hail from Brookyln via Michigan’s Ann Arbor and kick out a fresh-faced, spit ‘n’ sawdust take on The Stooges and MC5. ‘Massa Hypnos’ is Michael Troutman (bass), Allison Busch (drums) and Derek Stanton's (guitar and vocals) third album but have yet to really break out of being a summation of their influences. Clearly they’ve got well-worn copies of ‘Raw Power’ and ‘Kick Out the Jams’ but play things safe, largely, ditching any desire for experimentation. Essentially, Awesome Color are more taken with ‘Search and Destroy’ rather than ‘LA Blues’ or ‘Starship’.Also being thrown into the mix are the heavy rock of the likes of Black Sabbath and elements of the Australian underground like the Scientists and Radio Birdman. Or even Alice Cooper without the theatricality. And they just might have been listening to Dinosaur Jr once or twice... or three times. Awesome Color have to be applauded for their vitality and eagerness and opener ‘Transparent’ sets the ball rolling nicely, all 70s garage, riff-tastic rock but it all becomes rather predictable pretty quickly. ‘White Cloud’, ‘Vision’ and ‘Slaughterhouse’ come and go and just see the band going through their paces as if they’re just warming up. It’s solid meat and potato rock, quite hearty and nutritious – just not a very exciting diet. And they really should try a lot harder on the lyrics which are really quite appalling, coming straight out of the ‘moon’ and ‘june’ full rhymes school. Here’s the opening verse of ‘Transparent’: “Get in my head, Make me feel dead. Get in my mind, Make me go blind” And it never really gets much better than that. How about this from ‘Vision’: “All the bee's have buzzed, Now we've lost our love. Move into the sky, Fly into the nigh.” So lyrics not have to be of the poetic quality of WB Yeats but c’mon make an effort, this is sub-adolescent dribbling. Which might very well be overstating the case as when the trio hit their stride and free themselves from their narrow range of influences they do manage to create some awesome colour. Along with ‘Transparent’ there’s the finale of ‘IOU’ which sees Busch pound away relentlessly on her drums like the Velvet’s Maureen Tucker – simple, uncluttered but highly effective. The album’s highlight though is ‘Oaxaca’ (despite some dodgy couplets) and comes on like Soundgarden getting to grips with some Stooges outtake. It’s all shimmering tension before Stanton launches into some frenzied and mangled guitar histrionics for the final three minutes that could easily stand up against the more freeform elements of Yo La Tengo. ‘Massa Hypnos’ would have benefited from more of the likes of ‘Oaxaca’ but instead Awesome Color have played it safe.

Track Listing:-
1 Transparent
2 Flying
4 White Cloud
5 Vision
6 Zombie
7 Slaughterhouse

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