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Album Review: Summer Cannibals – Show Us Your Mind

With a name that comes from a Patti Smith song, it is no wonder this band attacks with a vengeance. The Summer Cannibals are a hard hitting, straight forward rock ‘n’ roll outfit from Portland, and their new album Show Us Your Mind transports you to another time where rock did not have a bunch of electronica garbage mixed in. The drums rumble through your head, the bass thumps on your soul, and the guitars and vocals send you to a beach party you never want to leave.

There are quite a few non-traditional love songs on this album. With tunes like Don’t Make Me Beg, a mid tempo jam, that calls out, “Are you dreaming dreaming / About another way / you can face your (expletive) without having to stay?” and Something New, a song that insists you get out of your seat and dance around your room, that spouts “I’ve been looking for something new / to keep my hands busy while I get over you”, it gets rather clear that whoever they are writing about a piece of work.

Easily the most hard-hitting and grungy of all songs on this album is Not Your Turn. It yells “I’m fated to disappear / And you’re too faded to care” and pummels you with guitar solo after guitar solo of earth-shaking sound. Right about in the middle of the song, the bass starts to take over and moves the entire song into a rough and gritty reality. The Summer Cannibals can sound like this all day long and that would be totally ok.

Though songs about exes and almost nothing else plague this album, every single tune is head bang worthy. This is not an album you can listen to at a moderate volume. It is tempered with punchy, perfectly uncomplicated riffs and a driving rhythm section that just won’t quit. Show Us Your Mind does not come with any kind of pretension: it is a rock album and a good one at that. It’s power and momentum doesn’t need to come from the lyrics when the grooves are this intense. The Summer Cannibals are a much better version of The Runaways with a twist of The Hives and beach rock thrown in for good measure, and this album does not disappoint.

It should be noted that even though this band sounds great on a record, they are a hundred times better live. I have had the honor of seeing them at the Crystal Ballroom when they played with CHVRCHES and when they headlined at Mississippi Studios. If you have the opportunity to see them play in person, do it. They bring the energy that is required to deliver this high octane, power-punching rock to the masses; something that is hard to find in this world where rock has become synonymous with napping musicians and muddled tunes. Show Us Your Mind gives the Northwest music scene something to be thankful for.

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