I don’t think we were ever able to put the finger on Monster Magnet’s sound. Since 1989 Dave Wyndorf (who’s 61 and still doing the damn thing) and his changing roster have dabbled in Stoner Rock, Psychedelia, and even some Sludge. So, what’s the recipe for studio album eleven, Mindfucker (Napalm)? The take here is straightforward Rock music.
Is that vague? Absolutely. But hey, you listen to Mindfucker and tell me what else you come up with. Hard Rock? Sure, I guess. Mindfucker is the type of recording that, despite its title, most dads and weekend warriors can crank on while slamming back lagers in the garage. And that’s a good thing. At least dad is listening to something other than Collective Soul’s ‘Shine’ for the 45th time today on New Hampshire’s Rock 101.
If American radio stations still cared about new rock music, Monster Magnet would have fresh jams like ‘I’m God’ and ‘Drowning’ in rotation right now. While both are disguised as low-key numbers, there is plenty of pulsing bass, guitar effects, and solid vocals from Wyndorf. ‘When the Hammer Comes Down’ also swings a mean riff and has some fun ripping leads and solos from guitarists Garrett Sweeny and Phil Caivano. I could get used to more material like this.
And that’s when we arrive at the flaw of Mindfucker, there aren’t enough ‘When the Hammer Comes Down’ to go around the entire album. Outside of its liberal use of tambourines and cowbell, ‘Want Some’ becomes a prisoner to its static riffage. We can also observe what I refer to as the Mötley Crüe effect on ‘Soul’ and on the title track. Mötley Crüe effect? It’s when a song title like ‘Mindfucker’ suggests that it’ll break its foot in your ass but falls short of said task.
Mindfucker could’ve benefitted from more studio time and some spicier riffs, but America’s dads can take comfort in knowing that this is a perfectly good Rock album.