The hardscrabble, oft-bloodied bastard child of blues-based rock and roll and youthful angst, punk music has found a ready and willing audience with the disillusioned and disaffected for decades. A near-antithesis to virtuosity, punk’s raw edge favors instant consumption: quick composition, hard-hitting rhythms, and raucous riffing guitars. It’s common-man folk music for those who prefer their rock and roll loud and proud. An entire generation of fans grew up on second-generation “pop-punk” which came to prominence at the tail end of the “grunge” movement. Pop-punk had the same musical base as “genuine punk rock” but came complete with Wal-Mart friendly, mass-appeal themes: bands like Green Day and The Offspring exposed listeners to some of the excitement and catharsis that “genuine” punk fans had enjoyed for years. Those who’d fly the punk banner high preferred waiting in the shadows, emerging only when the time was right…
One of those artists hid in plain sight for years. Nick Oliveri, as bassist for desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age, enjoyed the “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” rock star dream (and writing credits): platinum album sales certification, rock royalty accolades, and arena-sellout level tour success. After parting ways with the Queens crew, Oliveri began a solo career, releasing two “death acoustic” records. Leave Me Alone is his first foray into the solo electric realm, and it’s a nine-track, aggressive, genuine, melodic slab of bad-boy rock and roll.
It’s no surprise that Nick Oliveri, occasionally under his Uncontrollable moniker, is making what essentially boils down to punk music. It’s not even too surprising that it’s mostly a one-man-band type effort. What’s odd, and cool, is his deliberate inclusion of “musicality”. In the collaborative desert rock spirit, Leave Me Alone features notable guest guitar soloists: Phil Campbell (Motorhead), Dean Ween, Bruno Fevery (Kyuss Lives!), Marc Diamond, and Blag Dahlia (Dwarves). While the disc encapsulates punk’s essence, it also sheds the “D.I.Y” basement-tapes amateur feel, by virtue of it’s “current”, hiss free sound delivery. It doesn’t sound like some guy with a 4-track in his garage – while that might appeal to certain circles, it doesn’t work as well when aiming to infest as many ears as possible. That said, it does retain punk’s traditional “loose” approach to music. Tempos tend to wander just a little bit, which breathes spontaneity and life into the disc, emphasizing that this music has been made by a human being, not a computer.
Those who grew up on real-deal punk rock remember the attitude and the ethos more then anything. Who better to deliver this kind of music then someone who channels it’s roots so effectively? Leave Me Alone channels that angry, poseur-stomping, ethereal ‘middle finger to genteel society’ vibe. “I kiss with my fist”, Oliveri screams, during “Come and You’re Gone”. The song’s outgoing salvo features him throwing things down the stairs. Other tunes feature pointed events from his past, the most prominent being the SWAT team and police sirens in “The Robot Man”. Oliveri proves he’s more then a one trick pony with the astute inclusion of a short, acoustic instrumental number: the album’s title track. “It seems like death is shadowing me”, he emotes, during the record’s high-energy closing tune, “Death Leads the Way”.
“The tracks are still my style. It’s still heavy and hard, and the lyrics are stuff I’ve lived and gone through, but the new music has a cool aspect to it”, Oliveri told WOW247 from the UK. Amalgamated elements of desert rock, punk, and even rockabilly can be gleaned from these tracks. Intense, raw, and convincing, Leave Me Alone is a good debut effort which offers plenty of room to grow on subsequent releases. Only time will tell what other ideas his Uncontrollable monster wishes to share with the world and his fanbase.
Human Cannonball Explodes
Keep Me in the Loop
Luv is Fiction
Come and You’re Gone
The Robot Man
Get Lost (With Me)
Leave Me Alone
Death Leads the Way