It's 1995, the rock world is still reeling from Kurt Cobain's death, and a new saviour is needed. Someone who can take old and turn it into new, while still retaining that essential oldness. Someone who can sound both cosily familiar and gorgeously innovative at the same time.
But hey, Gavin Rossdale will do. 'Cause it's too hard to actually look further than the end of our noses and find a band with a bit of talent.
"Fast Stories... From Kid Coma" kicks off with the stylish Soundgarden-a-like "Blue Flame Ford", which could almost be a manifesto for their sound. Retro-grunge, like Sonic Youth pretending to be a ZZ Top tribute band. A short burst of noise later, and the Pixies-esque "Four Girls" rattles around your skull, eching all over the place and getting stuck in cavities you'd really rather it avoided.
"If You Don't Let it Die" is classy, and it knows it. Laryngitic vocals over a sumptuously lo-fi backing, it's a grungier, tastier Black Crowes. "Hot Summer 1991" and "Blue Lights" are more of the same, with the retro turned up to eleven, Lynyrd Skynyrd for the Seattle generation, halfway between Woodstock and Lollapalooza. "Leslie's Coughing Up Blood" screams "hit single" at the top of its guttural singing voice, with a hook so resonant you'll swear you've heard it before (and if you have, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about).
And then it all slows down for mellow epic "Hurricane Dance". Eight minutes of Sonic Youth noises occasionally punctuated by a chorus which touches on Kyuss. Then, in a dramatic turnaround, they slip unexpectedly into REM-meets-Nirvana mode for "Angelhead" and back into lo-fi-anthem mode for "Tragic Telepathic (Soul Slasher)".
You know "Virtually" the second it emerges from your speakers. Maybe you've heard a Soundgarden song with a similar riff or something, you don't know. "So Strange" opens with a lazy swell of feedback and just flows lethargically in a lo-fi way until it decides it's had enough. Then it's Fugazi plays Corrosion of Conformity time for "Strangling".
Finally, there's nothing like an epic piece of noise to round it all off. "Chlorine" veers between the 70s and the 90s, occasionally deciding to slip some tune in amongst the remarkably restrained feedback, and wondering if the listener will notice it. Let's just say, the chemical of the title hasn't been used to clean the band's swimming pool. Fantastic.
9Nick Lancaster.'s Score