You may not think you know Christian Martucci, but the Pennsylvanian multi-instrumentalist has worked with some very well known faces.  Aside from working with Dee Dee Ramone, Martucci’s credits also include work with Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor and a stint with Black President – an all star punk band which has included (at one time or another) Goldfinger’s Charlie Paulson, Bad Religion’s Greg Hetson and Lagwagon’s Dave Raun.

Since “Riding The Blinds” refers to hitching a ride without knowing the destination, it’s a fitting title for this EP – the first outing under his own name – since it opens a new musical chapter in his career; one which explores a different musical route. These four songs – pulling in at just over ten minutes – each shows off some great rock riffing, blending hard rock, glam-ish metal and a touch of punk (in attitude, more than actual sound), all well played and with a huge sense of urgency.  Martucci’s shouty vocal takes a while to really tune into, but it’s very much in keeping with the full-on approach dictated by the songs.

Charging ahead with a direct guitar riff, ‘I Don’t Mind The Faith’ has the most instant of the four cuts, combining a shouty chorus with a forceful growling vocal and some spot on rock ‘n’ roll soloing.  At scarcely two minutes, there is absolutely no padding…and it’s all the better for it.  It is instant, yes, but it doesn’t necessarily make it the strongest offering.  ‘Burial Song’s intro shows a larger degree of sophistication thanks to a dual guitar melody in the intro, while the rhythm second of session drummer Zak St. John  and bassist Carl Raether (of Joey Cape’s Bad Loud) get to tackle a tune with a touch more complexity.  After a few spins, ‘Burial Song’s (slightly) more intricate elements make it the pick of the bunch.

The other two numbers don’t always present any great musical shift, but both have their merits. ‘Snake Oil’s staccato riffing packs a punch, while a particularly carefree solo adds to the general trashiness.  Although maybe Martucci maybe ought to reign his voice in a little, the energy on show is palpable, which alone is just enough for Martucci and his cohorts to carry it off with ease.  With an uncompromising mix of metallic chugging and punky attack, the title cut is like a fist in the face, as Martucci tackles a heavy tune that could be described as sounding like New York Dolls re-imagined by Prong’s Tommy Victor.  The band adopt a similar tight but loose feel as per ‘Faith’, except any rock ‘n’ roll soloing takes a back seat for hard rock posturing, the kind which could have filled many LA hard rock tracks from just the late 80s.  Here, Martucci’s playing style combines flair and anger with great end results.

Short and sharp, ‘Riding The Blinds’ isn’t really an essential listen, but nevertheless, it  comes recommended if you like Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Buckcherry or similar high energy, trashy rock.  If you can tune into Martucci’s gravelly vocal style, you’ll like it even better…

The whole EP is available for free download via the Soundcloud link below.

July 2012