Loud, fast rock n’ roll has been making a slow but steady comeback in the past couple of years, outside of the whole EDM craze. California, specifically Los Angeles, has been pumping out loud, fast and fun acts like Fidlar and Joyce Manor. The bay now has a vicious response with Hot Lunch: one part garage, two parts punk and infinite amounts of face-melting rock n’ roll. Their self-titled debut is like watching a condensed version of Dazed and Confused eight times in a row.
“Handy Denny” kicks off the album with the most Motörhead/Alice Cooper guitar riff possible, with growly, waily vocals cutting through with enough satisfying caucaphony. It’s like a young Iggy Pop hopped on a train to San Francisco filled with nothing but piss and vinegar.
“Ripped at the Seam” is straight stoner rock, grabbing influence from Black Sabbath and Hawkwind. This track sounds like the desert. The rumbly, yet precise drumming accents the steamy licks, while frontman Eric Shea is pushing his voice to the edge of demonry and tongue-in-cheek buttrock. But there’s no irony here, just a kick-your-teeth-in jam to break the silence in your basement.
As their Facebook page proves, Hot Lunch has a healthy obsession with ’70s skateboard culture. “You’re Alright” is the perfect accompaniment to shredding those concrete waves at your local ditch. This is the ultimate “get stoked” track. One could also say, at this point, the album might seem to head towards mild repetition, but each track seems to progressively one-up the last in energy. Hot Lunch knows exactly what they’re doing, who they’re playing to and what they’re working with. This is really no-nonsense rock n’ roll, whether it’s been done before or not.
The album closes with “Monks on the Moon,” a clear nod to The Nuge, all the while featuring Gregorian chanting, tasty palm-muting and ending with a couple minutes of the band jamming it out in true ’70s heavy rock fashion. Hot Lunch may not be, like most bands who claim this title, the ones to “save rock n’ roll,” but they’re damn well doing their part. If you’re having a birthday this month, you’re in luck. Hot Lunch just gave you ten loud-as-hell songs to help you forget it.