Album Review: Boots With Spurs
Album: The Sun Never Sets on Andy Griffith Pt. 1 & These Boots Were Made For Moonwalking
According to their website, Boots With Spurs were “formed from stardust as a direct result of the Big Bang” and “raised on wolf’s milk, raw meat, and rock and roll religion.” This is the kind of introduction to a band that gets you searching for the phone number of the closest mental asylum. Everything about Boots With Spurs and their debut, self-released album, points towards a collection of unhinged minds indulging their wildest fantasies. Let’s put it this way: ‘The Sun Never Sets’ is full of the kind of grandiose ideas that would make The Mars Volta seethe with jealousy.
Truly the labour of a deranged storyteller, Boots With Spurs take the template of the concept album and subject it to the kind of torture that would make The Joker blush. Let’s jump into the rabbit hole for a bit and just try to explain what Boots With Spurs have concocted here. ‘The Sun Never Sets’ is a two part concept album, the record divided into two stories. The first half hour focuses on the tribulations of Andy Griffith, a rogue cowboy living on a desert planet. Now a fugitive after committing a “righteous” murder, Griffith’s parable sees him wandering through the desert wastelands until he is found by a tribe of Indians and reborn, discovering the true purpose of his journey.
The second part follows reconnaissance scout astronaut Emanuel Faces who, among other things, has a grudge against his home planet of Earth and is travelling towards a final destination named ‘Goldilocks’. It makes Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ look like a nursery story, whilst Coheed & Cambria can no longer be deemed the most imaginative band on the planet. It’s no wonder the band are unsigned – how the hell would you even go about marketing a musical entity such as this? I’d hazard a guess that the world just simply is not ready for these kind of ludicrous tales.
But then you listen to it. Boots With Spurs do not need to rely on bizarre storytelling and imaginative plot devices to sell their music. You give this one listen, and you start to feel like a pathetic fly caught between the jaws of a Venus Fly Trap, caught helplessly in a rapid current of influences and guitar solos. The sound is like a drunken barfight between The Mars Volta, These Arms Are Snakes and Hella, all thrown into some kind of turbo blender that just will not stop for anything. If there was ever an album that could be described as being the equivalent of going toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson at his best, this is possibly it. There is no respite, there are no pauses for breath, and there are certainly no walking of ten paces before the band empty their revolver into your face.
Vocalist Vince DeSantiago confounds with his ability to stay above all the madness erupting around him. He screams (“Kitty cat, kitty kitty kitty cat!” is a notable moment of mental breakdown on ‘Space Heater’), he yells and at times he sounds like he’s on his last breath, just about to collapse into the dense atmosphere when the songs suddenly change tack and give him a new lease of life.
You know what? Perhaps it isn’t so surprising that the band were borne out of the Big Bang. There’s so much energy here that this album could probably power a Michael Bay adaptation of Lord of the Rings, with enough left over to power The Hobbit to boot. ‘The Sun Never Sets’ is a vastly impressive explosion of an album from a band that have appeared out of nowhere. It sounds fantastic, the literary allusions are both hilarious and respectable at the same time, and the musicianship is dynamic, furious and exciting. Let’s hope there will be another Big Bang from these guys soon.