The Hydromatics – The Hydromatics (Easy Action)

dangerousWhat do you reckon we’re gonna say about it? One of the greatest releases of the 1990s – a downright patchy time for Real Rock and Roll – that’s been given a re-mastering spruce-up and coupled with a stack of bonus cuts? Damn right that it rocks - far more than any grunge or shoegazer crap of its time.

Originally entitled “Parts Unknown” and issued on the White Jazz label in 1999, this album has been impossible to find for years now and it’s more than stood the test of time. The Hydromatics were a “supergroup” led by Michigan rocker Scott Morgan joined by Nick Royale (Hellacopters) on drums, Tony Slug (Nitwitz, BKG) on guitar and Theo Brouwer on bass (both hailing from Europe’s own Murder City, Amsterdam), they kept the light burning for the music of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band.

The original band may have slogged away on European stages in the face of initial support band indifference, but their shows, subsequent runs, and this release, carved out a notable niche for them as a “must see” act.

Nicke Royale’s Hellacopters commitments restricted his tenure (and he was replaced by the formidable Dom Ries) but there’s no watering down the sonic impact of this, the band’s studio debut. Armed with a good chunk of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band classics, and a wad of the members’ own originals, with minimal rehearsal but maximum commitment, they laid out a template for what rock and/rockin’ soul should sound like.

Nicke himself was/is a fine drummer and he and Brouwer formed an ace engine room. Slug lays down some fiery guitarwork and Morgan remains highly underrated in that regard. His voice was at a peak of its considerable powers and a shared love of the music of SRB was obvious.

That a band gelled so well is all the more amazing. Band chemistry is impossible to define. It just happens. You’re listening to it right here on cuts like the barnstorming “Earthy”, the smooth “Heaven” or the spirited MC5 re-take, “Baby Won’t Ya”, to know this is the real deal. The grind ‘n’ groove of “Runaway Slaves” is the pick of the originals.

There were a dozen songs on the original record and they’re all here on a single CD, supplemented by a seriously hot 1999 show in Fribourg, Switzerland, of all places.  It’s a short support spot so it runs to just six songs but they’re all rendered with the effectiveness of a hollow-point 7.62mm round. Re-mixed-for-45 versions of “Earthy” and “Heaven” fill out the disc.  

Make no mistake. This is REAL ROCK ACTION with capital letters, bold type and underlining. A stone classic brought back into being. The link below will lead you to your own copy.   

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