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The Alpacas - The Best is Behind You

Photo of The Alpacas

The Alpacas

In many ways, The Best is Behind You reminds me of the surprisingly well made film John Wick (2014): The premise may be simple; there is no deep philosophical digression going on, and the initial description so simple that you disregard it. Then you watch and realize that competence is not always a matter of flash and surprise. Sometimes, the most impressive work is the one that knows what it wants to accomplish, and does it.

Photo of The Alpacas

The Alpacas

This is garage rock with your mother’s lemonade sitting right on the cabinet, with no pomp and frills. There’s a guitar, bass, drums and vocals, with an occasional piano to keep it interesting, while the lyrics sit firmly in the hard-rock wheelhouse.

That’s just what I need.

What the Alpacas may lack in innovation, they more than make-up for in tight songwriting that shoots straight, without feeling tired. The production is reverb heavy, stripped down, but not Lo-Fi. Tracks like “Artifacts,” “Wax,” and “Mezzanine” hit you with the immediacy of a well-distorted guitar and a solid chord progression; the bass holds the line; the drums keep everything moving, and the vocals all work together. It would be easy to say mission accomplished, and end the review here.

But, the record is not perfect. Only eight tracks long, the ending is abrupt. The slower moments don’t have that electric sizzle that the harder tracks serve in droves, and in the end, the flow of the album feels more competent than organic. These super-structural rhythmic hiccoughs detract from the experience of listening all the way through, and leave the experience feeling weirdly truncated.

Tracks like “Artifacts,” “Wax,” and “Mezzanine” hit you with the immediacy of a well-distorted guitar and a solid chord progression; the bass holds the line; the drums keep everything moving, and the vocals all work together.

When the shit hits the fan, though, or the world is falling apart, the best medicine is often visceral, straightforward rock—the kind of music that rides your nervous system like a highway, gets your body pumping and puts you squarely in the moment with little room for breath.

These songs do that and do it well, without drawing attention to that fact. I’m willing to overlook those structural faults, and instead, just turn on, tune in, and fall into that sweet garage-rock instant.

Until I get another chance to get it right,

6,978 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung-foo throwing stars.