The Masonics: Obermann Rides Again (Dirty Water)

Masonics-ObermannRidesAgainThe Masonics
Obermann Rides Again
(Dirty Water)

Formed in 1991, garage rock revivalists the Masonics are still proudly waving the flag for the Medway scene, which centered on five towns around Kent, England. The scene was made famous in the 1980s by Billy Childish, who took a heavy dose of ’60s garage/beat rock, then added classic rock & roll with punk attitude.

Prior to the Masonics, Mickey Hampshire (guitar, vocals) and Bruce Brand (drums) served the Medway scene well, playing in the lauded Milkshakes (with Childish) and Headcoats, while John Gibbs (bass) spent time in the Scottish beat bands the Wildebeests and the legendary Kaisers. All told, the Masonics are garage rock royalty.

Since their formation, the DIY beat rockers have released acclaimed LPs and singles and are now adding to their catalogue with this blistering limited edition (500 copies) new release ‘Obermann Rides Again.’

The 14-track carries on that iconic Medway sound with raw, gritty good time rock & roll led by Hampshire’s lover’s lament lyrics and a muscular guitar sound. Meanwhile Brad and Gibbs hold down the back beat in tight fashion as the anchor for these exciting tunes.

Where the Masonics lack in lush production and walls of sound, they clearly make up for it in their energy and songwriting. From the opening chords of lead-off track “I’m Not Hurting You,” you are in for quick bursts of Medway greatness, as each song barely hits the three-minute mark. “Don’t Torment Me” has a rockabilly feel, while “I Don’t Understand Her Any More” is a heartbreaker with an island groove. “The Unsignposted Road” is a fun-loving jam with Ludella Black adding a female flare to the chorus, and the title track closes out the album in fine surf punk fashion.

The Masonics’ ‘Obermann Rides Again’ is a great salve for anyone going through a breakup or trying to hold a relationship together. It is also one of those albums where you can just forget everything and have some fun. Something which is surely lacking in music right now.