red lights


Garage rock with a little pork fat

Graham Parker

The Hiss - Panic Movement
(Sanctuary Records)
3 1/2 (out of 5 stars)

Reviewed: April 22, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

The Hiss, a scruffy quartet from Atlanta, have kicked the heavy tobacco-soaked '70s sounds of the South in the dusty keester with a stiff shot of their own blend of garage rock. And, surprisingly, the oil stains and pork fat mix well together.
Led by singer / guitarist Adrian Barrera, and accompanied by drummer Todd Galpin, guitarist Ian Franco and bassist Johnny Kral, the foursome have released their debut album entitled Panic Movement. Although the album may have been named after a surrealistic art movement from the '60s, the heady sounds that shake from this rabble-rousing 11-song collection have much less in common with outsider art than they do with straight ahead rock 'n' roll.
With guitars that ache, rip and burn on songs such as "Brass Tacks," "Lord's Prayer" and "Riverbed" the band emulates a good number of hard rock acts from the '70s, while tracks such as the good-ol'-boy swagger of "Triumph" and the laid-back vocal delivery on "Listen to Me" are more reminiscent of The Black Crowes and Oasis, respectively. And no self-respecting garage rock act would think of cutting a full-length album without dipping their oil-sticks into Detroit deities The Stooges' reservoir, which The Hiss pull off magnificently with their full-on assault of pummeling drums, slashing guitars and Barrera's gut-wrenching admission "I put my back into it. I put everything I have into it" on the album's opening track "Clever Kicks."
"I turned my back on the radio," Barrera yelps early on the album, but, ironically enough, it's catchy hard rock like this that will undoubtedly land them on the airwaves.
Unlike bands such as The Darkness and The Electric Six, The Hiss rock hard with all the bravado and none of the over-the-top campy humor. Which, very well, may find this band laughing last.

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