Album Review:  The Bobby Lees – Skin Suit   (Alive Naturalsound)

Young four-piece band from Woodstock New York throw out a grenade of an album coming from the spiritual heart of the Los Angeles Punk scene of the Eighties.

The Bobby Lees are Sam Quartin powerhouse Voice and guitar, Nick Casa guitarist, Kendal Wind electric bass, Macky Bowman drums.

Opening artillery salvo Move is brutal Garage Rock guitar riffing with some Speed Metal thrown in for good measure.

Coin and Gutter Walk are fast Rockabilly powered numbers in the fashion of early X and Billy Zoom. Both songs body slam you in similar fashion to the Blag Flag break-through Damaged LP.

Riddle Daddy, and we come to the beating heart of this band. Drum rolls start, a fast bass bottom, and then a Bo Diddley guitar riff. Ellas McDaniel in some interviews claimed his music was the starting point of Punk, and he has a point if you consider its New York Doll origins.

This one also grabs the grubby, redneck geezer from Hasil Adkins’ She Said and turns him into a ghost. In the bridge, things get hot and sweaty with Riddley Daddy. He just wanna mow/ But he doesn’t have a body/ We gonna ride. Orgasmic moaning until the band slam back in again.

Sam Quartin’s voice sounds like Joan Jett at the start, but she has a fine strong blues voice similar to Rebecca Lovell of Larkin Poe. The two bands would make a great double bill.

Ranch Baby is predominantly spoken-word Southern American Gothic horror story of the kind envisioned by Rob Zombie. Slow and creepy, this time sung by one of the guys.

Wendy starts with Rockabilly riffs but adds in some surf guitar licks. Mary Jo mines Southern red neck trash culture again.

She’s short and down/ Gut hangin’ out/ Her Johnny looking like an old passed out clown.

 There’s a terrific production sound to this. Responsible is John Spencer of the Blues Project, who has mentored them to a certain extent over the last couple of years or so.

A good example of this is Drive. It has the stripped-down economy and power of the early Ramones. The band display an impressive array of chops and discipline over the course of this sophomore effort.

Russell uses the Fall’s Fiery Jack riff and speeds it up. Last Song is a Fifties teen ballad with tremolo guitar with Sam falling apart about young love as the song wanders into the psycho ward.

And now Its Bo Diddley’s turn to get dealt to. On the I’m A Man cover, the 21-year-old cock-strutting male is tied to a chair and thoroughly ravaged by an increasingly out-of-control and angry young woman. Cathartic and screaming I spell M..A..N.. Maaaaan!

For good measure a version of Richard Hell’s Blank Generation is slammed through to complete this album.

Great fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously but this is a talented band who come across with serious musical chops and highly energised Rock’n’Roll.

Rev Orange Peel

Click here to watch the 13th Floor interview with The Bobby Lees