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Gonga: Gonga *

Album Notes

One of those albums you can't imagine being recorded with anything other than Orange or Green brand amplifiers, Gonga's eponymous debut takes the classic stoner rock blueprint as set down by desert gods Kyuss and adds an unexpected twist of grunge via singer Joe Volk's unnervingly precise Kurt Cobain imitation. Believe it, brothers and sisters, the sound of a Bleach-era Cobain wailing and whining over the gargantuan, sub-Sabbath grind-riffs powering standout tracks like "Burnt Honey," "Fellow Man," and first single "Stratofortress," is as chilling as it is thrilling. But aside from reminding us just how much those old Seattle bands bowed down to Black Sabbath in the first place (hello, Soundgarden!), everything else about Gonga's music positively screams classic-'90s stoner rock. Touching upon most of the genre's popular devices at one time or another, the band intersperses occasional instrumentals ("Pocket Scientist," the doom-tastic "Octane Bud") and acoustic guitar snippets "Untitled No. 2" & "No. 3") with the energetic highway anthems cited above, as well as a few lengthy stoner jams ("Hermes," "Mosquitos" [sic]) sure to incite the sort of head-nodding that generally precedes spilling your bong water everywhere. All in all, it's pretty evident that there's nothing at all original or unique about Gonga's sonic exploits; but, almost ten years on from Kyuss' demise, it's equally impossible not to enjoy such lovingly crafted stoner rock. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia



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