Monday, February 1, 2010

Naked Prey -The Story Never Ends (Naked Prey,1984)

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_"That's why it hurts, it's raining deep down in my soul"_

Van Christian was at one time Green on Red's drummer; back home in Tucson, Arizona, he switched to vocals and guitar and formed Naked Prey. The quartet plays rough-edged country rock with similarities to Green on Red (as well as Dream Syndicate and others in the California/Arizona axis). Although the seven-song debut's powerful sound is strictly modern, some of David Seger's sociopathic guitar solos recall acid-drenched summer of love shows at the Fillmore. An unassuming, occasionally exciting record.This band was closely related to Green on Red, (and that desert rock sound explored by similar bands in the early to mid-eighties) in that Dan Stuart produced this ep and the vocals on a couple of songs, 'Take the Word' in particular, sounding uncannily like Dan Stuart. Then when you consider that Green on Red also released their debut ep on the Down There label then you know that the spirit underpinning the whole project should not be doubted in the slightest. When Naked Prey roar though, they roar fucking loud and actually you'd have to say that the band was on a heavier sounding vibe than Green on Red ever were. There's nice bluesy stuff on this album too, but they had the ability to build up the momentum into a post punk fury. Lead guitarist David K.Seger could really burn along some hot lead breaks too, I guess that the band was recorded at exactly at the right time coz the sound released here is mighty fine.Most of the songs deal with having a hard life, with questions tearing at Van Christians', the lead mans's, heart. Songs about falling apart, songs about the blues from a white fellas point of view, there's even some religious overhangs here for the record. The whole thing is almost perfect and the cover photo of the band is highly impressive, with the mob lookin' like they'd just got out of their beds, playing in barefeet in someone's loungeroom. Fuck where did these guys come from? It's a real shame that their later stuff wasn't up to this great quality. The song 'Hour Glass' shows where their future songs would be coming from, in that it's more standard rock than blues, but when that feedback kicks in watch out!!!. They close the album with a Dylan cover 'Billy The Kid II' and even that works. Great ep by an underrated band.
With a new drummer, label and producer (Paul B. Cutler), Naked Prey revved up their folk-distorto-rock on Under the Blue Marlin. Christian's colorful singing and Seger's guitar work remain the group's virtues, as Prey's songs don't make much of an impression. (A Stooges cover is both helpful and indicative of the band's own failings.)
The same problem plagues the thematically linked 40 Miles From Nowhere: despite killer guitar (including slide) and relentless energy, unimaginative melodies and lyrics derail the effort. (Christian's deteriorating voice is another trouble spot.) Still, a pair of covers — Jagger/Richards' "Silver Train" and a funereal version of "Wichita Lineman" proves what these boys might do with substantial material. Live in Tucson was recorded in 1988.

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