Tuckerbox - Aberration (Crankinhaus Records)
Aberration are one of those bands who you have probably heard of word of mouth. Did you ever see them live back in the ‘80s? No recordings survive so you just have to believe they where good if you didn’t see them kicking around Sydney in 1983-87.
Aberration were playing high-energy British metal/punk until as the liner notes to this album “Tuckerbox” attest, destructive forces took their toll. The band split with little to show for their wild live reputation.
Fast forward 35 years. “Tuckerbox” is the first release for Aberration, one member of which survives in Alan Creed. It‘s newly-recorded and 10 tracks of sheer raw power.
“Trapped” kicks thing off nicely; it's a bit more pop than punk but it works. Next up is “Loaded Dice” which is just flat out rock ‘n’ roll.
“Notjing To Say” is just is a riff-driven song. It’s very powerful and had me rocking. “Private Hell” is more like the speed metal of Def Leppard in its sound. Another great track
Okay, now it gets interesting. “Dregged Out” is, in my humble or somewhat inflated opinion, from start to finish.
“El Loco” is something I've heard somewhere, sometime. Or the melody, at least. I’m not sure where but it’s stuck - as good tunes should.
I could keep going on about the other tracks but, hey, surprise yourself. Big Al Creed (ex-New Christs) is the mastermind on vocals and guitar and got some old buddies to join him in recording this fine, if somewhat belated, album. Tony Bambach (ex-Lime Spiders) on bass holds this album together with some very inspiring playing, Stu Wilson (also a former Lime Spider and New Christ) bangs away on the drums rounding out this very accomplished trio. Man, it’s good to hear these songs after all these years. This is an absolutely smashing album and I for one love it. Hopefully there will be more live shows. The farmhouse has been rocking.
Buy this album. It’s a must just for all you old Australian punks. - Ron Brown
Listen up: This is killer. Ten songs of sharp-edged, driving punk with lots of melodies.
The original Aberration kicked around Sydney in the 1980s as a four-piece, playing New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) inspired punk, sharing stages with the likes of the Hard-Ons and Massappeal before that hoary old chestnut, “lifestyle issues”, took ‘em out in ’86.
Original Aberration singer, Big Al Creed (Hell Crab City/New Christs/Panadolls), is the sole survivorv on vocals and guitar. He’s joined by Tony Bambach (ex-Lime Spiders) on bass and Stu Wilson (ex-New Christs, Lime Spiders) on drums.
(Declaration: I’ve worked with all of these guys and like ‘em, so there’s a bias that I’ll attempt to screen out.)
The material on “Tuckerbox” comes from set lists of the original line-up, recorded mostly in Sydney with overdubs in Newcastle over the last few years. It’s not mindless and angry three-chord thrash. The NWOBHM tag should tell you as much, although they’re (thankfully) more Motorhead than Iron Maiden. Articulated guitars wind their way through the mix, over a relentless engine room.
Tony and Stu are a consummate power-trio rhythm section. Chris Masuak stole them for his 2017 shows in Australia which should tell you a lot. Ultimately, it’s Al Creed’s careening guitar lines and the quality of the songs that make Aberration stand apart.
Big Al has a melodic voice and while his lyrics spend their fair share of time in the gutter gazing upwards to the stars, they’re not your average “kill the man/we’re all rooned” punk fodder. More like: “What did I do last night?”
The ragged, rise and fall melody of “Dregged Out” gives it an infectious edge. “Loaded Dice” is a searing Motorhead-style surge with trilling guitar licks and some stellar drumming. “Trapped” mixes suburban paranoia with some Ron Asheton licks for impressive results.
There’s a touch of the New Christs on a '60s groove trip about “Nothing To Say” with its percussive accents and spiralling lead, while “Spiders” sounds like the Fab Four being channelled through Husker Du. It’s a varied lot but Big Al’s tremendous guitar tones tie it all together. Physical CD out in June, listen and pre-order through Bandcamp. - The Barman