"Ron House just told me that was the best concert he's seen in his life," the New Bomb Turks' Eric Davidson remarked after last fall's Ohio debut by the Strokes. "I thought it was good, too, but I said, 'Ron, you saw the New York Dolls, for Christ's sake!'" It was typical of the Columbus underground's two most clever and erudite granddaddies. While the Turks always bring historical perspective to their virility, House's various bands have always let loose an utterly unique mess. These equally impressive returns -- the Turks on a new label, House on his first-ever solo disc -- vividly highlight that difference.
By joining Gearhead, original home of Swedish retro-rockers the Hives and now the Hellacopters, the Turks have reanimated their decade-long mission to honor the glittering trash of garage-punk past. The album works up slowly to the fastest and densest blowouts, thereby avoiding the group's tendency to embody the Dolls' mantra of "too much too soon." This time, Davidson savors his feral shrieks and low-culture witticisms with regal ease.
House, meanwhile, was inspired to make his concept album when he was exiled by a mate of seven years. From start to finish, his pitch-challenged whine and artless acoustic strumming are so miserable, they banish all memory of his cocksure leadership of Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. Still, the misery is belied by pointed lyrics and arrangements that carefully lead to the closing cut, where House finally looks back in anger. Just as Davidson always recommends.