Keith Gibbs: guitar, vox
Rick Ferrante: drums, percussion
Jason Casanova: bass, filing, red tape
Guest vocals on "Smoke Signal" courtesy of Gaff.
Guest guitar swirls on “Smoke Signal” courtesy of Hammy.
Drums and bass recorded by Steve Lehane and Al Sutton at Rustbelt Studios, Detroit, MI, in December 2012.
Guitars and vocals recorded by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios, Allston, MA in Q1 and Q2 of 2013.
Mixed by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios, Allston, MA in June 2013.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, MI.
Robotic Design: Vladislav Ociacia
Layout: Jason Casanova
All songs written by Gibbs, Ferrante, and Casanova.
Published by Lucy Fur (BMI), Woplak Music (ASCAP), and Music for Bearded Pirates (ASCAP).
Sasquatch is a three-piece sludge/stoner-rock outfit from Los Angeles, California. Having previously released two densely packed studio albums called “I” and “II” that were downright excellent, the band initially went into a hiatus only to emerge with an altered lineup to release “III” in 2010. Now, anno 2013, Sasquatch have returned with, you guessed it (or read it in the headline), “IV”.
Opening with “The Message”, Sasquatch once again display their affinity for groove-laden sludge/stoner with muscular riffs, fat bass-lines and impeccable drumming. The testosterone fueled riffing of “The Message” serves as an endearing welcome into the latest release of Sasquatch where Keith Gibbs’ vocals in particular stand out as excellent. Naturally, the groove is accredited to the band as a unit, a single entity if you will but Gibbs’ vocals have placed themselves magnificently on top of this groove machine to really burst out some energy.
Moving on to “Sweet Lady”, a slightly funky wah-riff opens the track whilst the rhythmical foundation readies itself for yet another bout of insane grooves. The repetitive nature of “Sweet Lady” seems quite enthralling at first listen and actually continues on like that for quite a few more listens. The hook of the song is catchy as hell with a simplistic guitar-bend leading the way, making for an easy yet extraordinarily memorable listening experience. As Keith Gibbs opts for his soloing duties, fueled with bountiful amounts of fuzz, the rhythmical duties of Rick Ferrante and Jason Casanova should not be underestimated as the groove they retain whilst Gibbs solos is as thick as a soundscape ordinarily created by, at least, one more musician.
Nearing the final three tracks of the album, the weaker sides start to rear their heads. Obviously this album is laden with near-epic amounts of groove and masculinity. However, the album is unfortunately also fueled by a tentative need to steer clear of any radical dynamic mix-ups on the album, making for a rather uniform listening experience when approaching tracks like “Me and You” or “Drawing Flies”. – Especially so, after having given the album more than a few spins. The songs in particular, aren’t at fault here. Rather the length of the album coupled with a lack of diversity, as my attention repeatedly wanders towards other places when nearing this particular segment of the album. Granted, the three songs towards the end are actually quite potent in their own right, but they seem far inferior when coupled with a runtime of this caliber coupled with an insistence on sticking to the same form. As such, this fourth outing from Sasquatch brings little new to the table, yet rocks out with a lot of what we’ve come to know them for.
Download: The Message, Sweet Lady, Smoke Signal
For the fans of: Nebula, Orange Goblin, Clutch, Astralnaut
The stoner rockers Sasquatch come from California to deliver some old school stoner rock. There’ve been about ten years since the band’s debut record and now this year Sasquatch released ‘IV’, their fourth one. The band is loyal to the stoner rock genre, always looking forward to rock out with good old school stoner rock and dirty melodies. Without rushing at all, the band numbers four records, without having even one with bad reputation. Let’s find out if they will get one with ‘IV’ or if the band still gives its best.
I haven’t listened to any stoner record since the latest Clutch record, till now. From the very first time I reviewed ‘IV’, I found a great similarity between Clutch and Sasquatch. I am referring to the fact that both bands compose harsh stoner songs, with different styles and vocals though. However, the main essence is the same; old-school, harsh, aggressive stoner rock. Sasquatch do include southern rock-like vocals, with Keith’s deep, vintage voice. The song’s recipe is simple; southern guitar riffs, along with sing-along vocals and rocking hard mood.
‘IV’ contains both laid back songs as well as faster ones. Every single track is based upon significant and identical guitar riffs, so as the song would be easy to memorize. For example ‘Sweet’s Lady’ or ‘Smoke Signal’; those songs are considered as rocker’s paradise, because of the groovy and edgy guitar riffs and the bad-ass vocals. We got to give credit to Jason and Rick too. The bass is well-played, supporting with groovy riffs and melodies the song’s structure. As far as the drums are concerned, Rick did an excellent work, hitting his drum set with rhythm and finesse.
The band becomes quite explosive in songs like ‘Wolves At My Door’ and ‘The Message’. Those songs could be easily participate at a rock party or become the soundtrack of drinking in a pub. The band becomes ecstatic and live. What I would like to note is that deeper and more compelling vocals would fit better in those songs, to strengthen them. In ‘Drawing Flies’ the band relaxes, showing a slower, groovier side of them. A large amount of the energy and the intensity of the songs are lost due to the recording session. This fact results to create a better opinion about the record if it is performed on stage by the band. The music Sasquatch creates is music for the stage, music to be hearable while drinking beer in a venue and watching the band sweating on stage. I totally believe it for every stoner band and as a result I would love to hear Sasquatch live sometime in the future.
The band has achieved another milestone in their career, writing again a pleasant record, which puts a smile in our faces during those hard ages.
- Kostas Tsotsanis
Sasquatch have been around since 2004 and this is not surprisingly given the title, this is the band’s fourth album.
They have a good sound mixing the classic doom metal of Black Sabbath (check out ‘Me And You’ for some Iommi approved guitar), some stoner riffery with more modern acts Soundgarden (listen to ‘Sweet Lady’ it is Soundgarden do doom!) in the mix.
The band draws those riffs out on the seven minute doom ride that is ‘Smoke Signal’. The crashing cymbals and rumbling riffs make this song one of the album’s highlights. The other seven minute tune, ‘Drawing Flies’ features more monster riffage and Keith Gibbs shows what a string voice he has, vital when singing against such a heavy and intense musical backdrop.
Recommended for those who like doom meets stoner rock and they prove on this album they deserve to be in the leading pack of current stoner/doom bands.
- Jason Ritchie
Sticking with the number based naming strategy this American trio have unleashed their fourth opus onto the world.
From the moment the album starts you are bombarded with hard Rock and melodies that will get you either nodding your head or flailing around like a wild thing. These guys have been at it for about a decade, and their latest release goes to show the hard work and dedication they are putting into their craft.
From the opening of “The Message” I can tell you that the energy is relentless, and there are no surprises in store aside from the consistent energy levels and quality of the sounds that will melt your speakers.
What precedes in between is just an onslaught. I have not seen these guys live, but I imagine a dark and very hot room with a lot of sweaty individuals thoroughly immersed in the experience. “Eye Of The Storm” has a great deep and heavy riff which sums up the title perfectly.
Closing with “Drawing Flies” things seem a little more laid back. From the cymbals through to the guitar; a little less drums, very little bass and more controlled vocals give them a whole new dimension. But that is just the opening! The distortion kicks in, the bass backs it all up and the poor drummer must be on his last legs!
Fearing that this review might turn into a collection of cliches, this album has to be played loud in order to get the full effect. And that effect might just be a headache. The whole album; all 9 tracks just rock, and they rock hard. There is absolutely no filler on this thing. No doubt it will be a firm favourite with the Stoner Rock fans. The big distorted guitar, the fuzzy nature, the fat drum sound-it just all keeps coming.
A solid chunk of old school hard rock. From the laid down beats, heavy bass underpinning it; to the screaming guitar riffs and solos, this is what rock is all about, and this album has it all. 9 tracks of fully fuelled energy ready to explode. This should satisfy anyone’s hard rock needs.
Sasquatch’s fourth album, classically titled ‘IV’ showcases top drawer song writing, groove-laden riffery, and exceptionally fat bass. The opening track gets the foot stomping right away with ‘The Message’. A clear and concise message is delivered indeed; that Sasquatch ROCK! The second track is where things start to get interesting however. ‘Eye of the Storm’ begins with a spiralling riff that tonally is a great example of the California sound. The vocals are absolutely brilliant, melodious, catchy, and full of doom.
‘Sweet Lady’ is one groovy blues! Opening with a funky wah-drenched riff, Sasquatch lay down a huge groove, with some real warm tones. Keith Gibbs’s guitar tone is nothing short of incredible for this genre, and his bluesy vocal delivery gets stuck in the head easily. ‘Money’ is another sludge/stoner behemoth, with earth shattering bass and pounding rhythms.
‘Smoke Signal’ features a guest vocal from Marc Gaffney and man does he deliver a fine performance. The riffs are super heavy, and loaded with power while the band creates a psychedelic cacophony at the songs climax. Next track, ‘Wolves At My Door’ picks up the tempo nicely, with hard rocking riffs and leads. The vocals fight alongside the guitar at points but in a good way, because tension is always followed by release with the swirling guitar leads taking off at the end of the chorus! ‘Me and You’ is another fine bluesy track. The importance of classic rock song writing shouldn’t be underestimated and the band has nailed this.
The album closes with two fantastic tracks. ‘Corner’ features some steam rolling riffs that would be the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon’s drive along route 66. ‘Drawing Flies’ begins with a phased out riff that culminates in a slow open groove. The singing on this album has been very impressive, capturing all the important balance between catchiness and heaviness. The fact is every instrument on this album sounds great!
I thoroughly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of the Stoner/Sludge/Doom genres, as well as Rock music in general, as Sasquatch have recorded something to please everyone!
- James Thorne
Fourth album of big-footed stoner metal from LA's premier power trio.
It's a bold act that decides to release albums in a numbered sequence. Those big name acts that have done it previously seem to have pulled it off though; Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel and Scott Walker have all put out firm musical statements that more than justify those heavy Roman numerals.
Now here come Sasquatch, heaviest of the heavy with IV, an album which bludgeons the listener from start to finish with supercharged, propulsive rock. Drawing from the best of the past – acts such as Grand Funk, Blue Cheer, and Black Sabbath, the '90s North-west grunge scene, as well as their contemporaries on the stoner and doom scenes, Sasquatch have once again come up with the goods.
Opening with straight-ahead rocker The Message, the album then broadens out to reveal plenty of surprises. There's the circular, descending riff of Eye Of The Storm with its mystical, loaded lyrical references to white horses and seventh moons; The devilish tritone interval used to full effect on Smoke Signal; the blues-rock overdrive mode achieved on Me And You, as well as the classic rock-isms on Corner.
Alongside the album's metallic roots there's the odd notable influence of the last 10 years of electrified country blues. Check out the bluesy riffing on Sweet Lady which bears a likeness to The Black Key's I Got Mine, complete with its Jack White-esque, octave-leaping guitar break. Mostly they sound utterly like themselves though. Four album's in for a band that show no sign of running out of steam or ideas. Long may they rock.
On their fourth album (appropriately titled IV), Sasquatch aren't shy in the least about exposing their fondness for older rock and roll along with the stylings of newer hard rock. Fuzzy guitar licks with hints of blues merge with power-chord outlines for something that evokes the post-grunge desert rock of the mid-to-late '90s, or a trimmer, more concise version of flat-out swamp rock. After the comparatively straight-laced introduction by the first pair of songs, The Message and Eye Of The Storm, Sasquatch seems to loosen up and feel more at ease with unfurling the psychedelic tendencies; Sweet Lady features some positively Hendrix-like guitar expression that savours the notes even as it shreds them to pieces, with the vocals worked into the low-end for great effect. Smoke Signal, a later track, takes the psychedelic freak-out even further, with rolling drums and crazed guitar feedback that builds and builds until it seems to be riding itself in a circle. The guitar keeps finding more opportunities to let loose through the rest of the album, which makes it almost disappointing when they seem to sober back up as they bring the album to a close. But that's just to leave room for the seven minutes of the last song, Drawing Flies, which starts out slow but works up to a locomotive-like chugging as it heads towards the sunset, making for a perfect end to a solid album. With some memorable riffing and great interplay from the band-members, IV leaves a sizeable footprint from the mighty Sasquatch. Recommended!
Sasquatch are a three-piece stoner metal band and apparently this is their fourth record, hence the title IV. They aren't the only Roman numeral album title out this year either, with several other acts also opting to use these fine numerals like Onslaught for example, with their new album VI. The album opens with "The Message 4:29" which opens with dirty guitars and strong vocals. There's a definite hook to this track and a worthy rock solo. "Eye Of The Storm 5:42" slows down the music a bit more, but I don't know if I'm feeling it as much as the last track. "Sweet Lady 4:41" is a bit less dirty, with more of a straight up rock and roll feel to it, complete with another great solo. "Money 5:38" comes next, with a more mechanical riffing approach. The solo also delivers. As far as I've predicted, they all will. "Smoke Signal 7:56" is a bit longer and thunders a bit on the doom. But these guys are clearly more rock than metal, which isn't a bad thing by any means. Odd effects actually pop up on this track and they definitely work well for the piece. "Wolves At My Door 3:31" features phenomenal solo work, then "Me And You 4:44" works as a jazzy love song, "Corner 3:28" seems like a corner to the album, I don't really sense much meat on this one. "Drawing Flies 8:11" ends the disc on a sort of trance-laden hippie vibe, but riffs manage to thunder into the track and create great shots of atmosphere.
Sasquatch definitely have the right kind of quality that could make them extremely popular if they can just get heard by the right people. These guys do a great job of mixing blues and jazz together with metal and rock, so I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before a major label comes knocking at their door. There are definitely radio quality hits here like "Sweet Lady" and "Me And You" that could see them commercial success if they desired to pursue it.
Check it out if it sounds like something you'd be interested in.
Highlights: The Message, Sweet Lady, Smoke Signal, Drawing Flies (9 Tracks, 46:00)
- Eric May
Let’s be real here. How many reviews have YOU read? Probably a million, right? Yea, thought so. Anyway, are you sick and tired of reading that useless, fluffy, introductory non-sense that you see EVERY GOD DAMN TIME you read a review? I am too. I’m sick of writing it. So, I’m going to get right into the heart of this beast, right to its inner core. Brass tacks, got it pal? Good. So, you know when you’re talking to your buddies and you’re like: “DUUUUUUDE MAN! This album ruuuules! Those riffs!” Well, this is one of those albums. Aptly named “IV”, Sasquatch’s latest riffy offering is well… rad, dude.
This album has legitimately everything you could possibly ask for in a doom laden, fuzzed out, hard rockin’ and lightly psychedelic mish-mosh of pure rock’n’roll bliss. Sasquatch draw from the wells of rock years gone by, and it shows. There are those big, meaty, sabbathian styled riffs, there’s that 70’s hard rock mindset and just enough psychedellia to make this one a proper trip.
I find with beardo rock, so many bands try so hard to be like their idols and for most, it’s their downfall. I’m all for worshipping what you love, but for an album to be tremendous, it has to have its own character. IV does. There are the hook laden tracks like “Sweet Lady” and “Money” and then there’s the psychedelic influenced epic “Drawing Flies” that clocks in over seven minutes long. This is the dynamic that makes this “DUUUUUUDE” worthy. I also find it to be massively accessible. There is so much going on in this album, and different characteristics that are achieved by the mish-mosh of aforementioned influences that this album, is well, a trip all in itself.
As far as the vocal side of things goes, it’s definitely as interesting as the guitar work is. I can see a small grunge-y influence – the earlier side of Soundgarden – and funny enough I can even sense some southern styling in Keith Gibbs pipes. However, he still possesses that all important gruffness that keeps the sound-scape in check. Vocalists are imperative – in my mind – in a stoner rock / metal album’s success. The songwriting can be ace, but if that singer sucks, it can totally dismantle the experience. Like I said, it’s an interesting style, nothing groundbreaking mind you, but it’s unique and complimentary enough that it gets the nod from me.
Now, if you’re still with me, I’ll sum it all up for you. If you’re a fan of all of the things that laid the foundations for stoner metal / rock, then this is the album for you. It’s not only a stoner album, but it’s a concoction of sonic excellence that appeals to senses. It’s heavy, majestic and unique all at the same time. I really dug this one, and if you’re like me and like heavy, encompassing riffs with just the right amount of spice, then this is the album for you. Also, if you have a beard, you’ll probably like this one too. Sasquatch is mandatory for anyone who likes their riffs heavy, and dirty. IV might just turn you onto your new favorite band.
- Paul Ferritto [Fritz]
Album number four from these Small Stone stoner vets shows that they haven’t lost their grooves after all these years—12, to be exact. Ever the pulsating, pounding, head-nodding goodness is what you’ll find inside.
This outfit leans more towards the straight-forward Fu Manchu style, as opposed to the tripped-out psychedelic grooves of Sky Valley-era Kyuss. (Cuz, y’know, there are really only two types of stoner rock: the former, or the latter.) That said, there are some pretty decent desert grooves to be found in the “Eye of the Storm,” for instance. The soulful, southern grooves and soaring vocals of “Sweet Lady” actually bring Canadian rockers Monster Truck to mind—although these guys have been doing it a lot longer (without quite as much recognition, mind you).
“Smoke Signal” is one of the longest songs here, at seven and a half, and it delivers some pretty righteous doom grooves along with a working-man’s wail that would make Wino proud. “Drawing Flies,” the other seven-minute number, also shows some shades of The Obsessed—which is obviously never a bad thing.
- Gruesome Greg
Their sound is as big as their name. Sasquatch brings images of the legendary apeman like creature that roams the woods to mind. Many have seen the creature but it still remains a mystery. With the band that has the same name there are no mysteries. Their sound is hard rocking with no frills. I am amazed to this day how a trio can create a wall of sound and these three gents do just that. Every track is hard hitting and it comes at you like a locomotive barreling full bore down the tracks. For a change of pace and an example of how they can be mellow check out the video provided and of course if you want to rock at +10 on the VU meter listen to the provided Bandcamp media player to stream the music.
- Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Like any musical genre Stoner Rock has its giants, those gifted artists and exceptional bands that produce a product easily recognizable as superior in many ways. The second half of 2013 will witness some of those giants - known giants, up and coming giants, and obscure giants of an obscure genre - releasing new and heavily anticipated music. One of those Stoner Rock giants, in the minds of fan and critic alike, is in the top two or three currently active bands, and could very well retain that lofty status once their music has been consigned to history. This is a band recognized far and wide for the quality of original fuzz it has produced over the course of a decade and change, sporting music of gargantuan riffs and melodic song structures, consisting of a three man line up that has seen only one member change over that time. It is a line up consisting of all-pro rockers, supremely talented, motivated, and passionate to their fuzzy metal cores.
I am talking, of course, about the behemoth band Sasquatch, who have recently released their fourth album on Small Stone Records, aptly and succinctly titled "IV", following after the timeless "III" of 2010, the jaw dropping "II" of 2006, and 2004's self titled notice of arrival.
The lineup for Sasquatch includes the newest member, Jason Casanova, who has been with the band now since just prior to the release of their monster third album. He has not only seamlessly fit in, but has perhaps brought a higher level of intensity and musicianship by wielding his bass like a wild-eyed, claymore brandishing berserker, full of fury, passion, and, above all, skill.
Providing tectonic reverberations is the timeless Rick Ferrante, equally ferocious in his impeccable wood on skin pummelings, perpetuating the same excellence as has been demonstrated on all previous releases, and providing timeless and unmatchable continuity throughout the band's legacy of fuzz.
Providing the meat, the origin, and the monster riffs that define Sasquatch is the incomparable Keith Gibbs, a bona fide artistic giant, whose song writing skills and masterful six string manipulations are powered by his unique musical gifts and a heart as big as the hairy beast for which the band is named. Add to that vocals of perfect pitch and power and you have an artist of exceptional chops.
"IV" has been heavily anticipated, with a festering fervor brewing through the three year gap since their last album was released, an album that was highly, and rightly acclaimed as a hallmark achievement of supreme musicianship and quality. That kind of success, along with the sustained success over three great albums in a decade, breeds both anticipation and apprehension. Anticipation for what surely will be another superb rendering. Apprehension for sustained quality, perhaps. We expect lightning to strike yet again. But there is always that little kernel of . . . not doubt necessarily, because there is no reason to doubt it . . . trepidation, maybe, that our good fortune with the Sasquatch lottery might run out on this ticket.
So, what is the verdict for the fourth album from a bonifide Stoner Rock giant? In a word, magnificent. Talent in all areas meets passion in the same, generating a cascading onslaught of gargantuan, heavy, beefy, fuzzy riffs, beats, hooks, and melody. THIS is what you want a stoner rock album to be, an intoxicating experience of sound that permeates through every pore and infiltrates to every cell, leaving you lusting for an immediate repeat injection.
One of the coolest aspects of Sasquatch's music is that none of it feels calculated beyond the simple intent of playing what they've made, which, given their immense talents in songsmithing and song execution becomes an intensely enjoyable experience, especially when played loud, and, for my preferences, up close and personal through high quality headphones.
Many of the songs on "IV" represent growth for the band as they explore new paths just outside the boundaries they set on the first three albums. They do not deviate from their strengths so much as develop new muscles of deep stoner fuzz that build upon that strong foundation. The album, though, also contains a smattering of tried and true Sasquatch tunes, so take heart those who fear change. It's an album with the best of all worlds, standard tracks that deliver that comfortable old fuzzy cardigan, songs with fresh direction generating excitement and deep energetic release, and songs that are signature Sasquatch capable of sliding into I, II, or III, as well as giving IV that deep blues rock grounding for which this threesome is known.
"I've Got a Message" opens the album with energy and fun, delivering a song that's a little like a steamroller barrelling full force just out of control down a steep San Francisco boulevard.
Next up is "Eye of the Storm", a tour de force in radioactive output and exposed nerves, in which the band veers away a bit from what has been their signature style without abandoning any part of their tried and true sound. If anything, the tandem strings of Gibbs and Cas deliver larger caliber munitions in a cacophony spray of distorted ecstasy driven relentlessly forward by Ferrante's feral roar of lumber on skin. This song is heavy with anguish and pain, intentional or not, with gargantuan heart and unimaginable skill providing one of the most satisfying tracks of the year from any and all rock sources.
What follows next is a series of songs that demonstrate for the fourth time in a decade the brilliance and thrill of the blues rock riddled, distorted, fuzzy riff rages of one of rock's most talented threesomes, who both go a far piece to define a genre while rumbling loud and long within its own craggy niche. From "Sweet Lady" to "Me and You" are five sagas of anguish, betrayal, and pain as relayed through fuzz boxes and high caliber amplifiers in the employ of a trio of warlocks of distortion. Joining in on "Smoke Signal" are Mr. Small Stone, Scott Hamilton on guitar, and Gozu's Marc Gaffney on vocals, slathering juicy relish onto what was already a juicy, meaty morsel of soul stomping sound.
The penultimate track, "Corner", is a brilliant uptempo full speed tank ride, straight ahead, powerful, constructed and executed to perfection. The only knock on this song might be it's too short! Of course, it's the perfect length, I just hated to hear it drop to silence after a frenetic 3 minutes. Sasquatch more than make up for it on the closer, "Drawing Flies", an eminate slow burn of unyielding intensity that bores its way through to the very core of the listener's tribal origins, striking a long lying primal chord with harmonic perfection.
The threesome of Sasquatch each demonstrate the highest levels of musicianship and craft on this album, especially in service of low tuned and slow burning musical intensity. Gibbs' guitar is power and brilliance, mining the depths of blues fueled fuzz with passion and grace. Casanova is a marvel of booming reverberations dexterously executed. Ferrante yields a smooth, effortless, yet vigorous prowess with his virtuoso performance on drums. Gibbs, too, is a master singer whose vocal instrument is exceptional on every note, every nuance, and every inflection. All is blended together and perfectly executed in the service of inventive, perceptive, and resourceful song writing. This is an album of note, perhaps made all the more so when considering it's the fourth in line of exceptional releases, a position that for many would expose a threadbare vein of artistic provender, but for this band, instead, reveals new direction, incredible passion, and songs for the ages.
The Grime checking in again. Today, I have some wonderful news for you. There is a KICK ASS record to talk about. Up for review today is Sasquatch’s brand spanking new record “IV” released by ever so reliable Small Stone Records. I say this because I haven’t been super excited by all of the releases that came out during 2011-12. Small Stone always puts out good records. Sometimes they are great. Well, good things come for those who wait.
I caught Sasquatch live at Small Stone’s Chicago showcase at The Double Door a few years ago. I wasn’t blown away. Maybe because the show also featured some of my personal favorites like Lo-Pan and Freedom Hawk (who I hope to see a new record from soon) and maybe I was already blown away by the 4 hours of kick ass rock and serious partying that came before Sasquatch’s set. Well, I’m glad I gave them a second chance (seems to be a theme around my parts these days).
I saw that the digital release was available and I generally listen to anything that Small Stone puts out. It’s safe to say that I’m a fan of the label. Oh man, I am happy that I listened to this record! For all of my rambling, this is short and sweet... front to back, upside down, right side up, this record fucking RULES. Let me reiterate...FUCKING RULES.
Fellow scribe and patron saint of stoner rock Bill Goodman sent me back to II (Hey Luder, take note...easy album titles) to brush up on my Sasquatch after to talking to him about the release. I wasn’t sold on III. After a quick chat with Small Stone president Scott Hamilton, he informed me that III was a period of rebuilding for the band. That makes a lot of sense to me now. Maybe another reason I wasn’t real sold on them after seeing them live.
This record finds Keith Gibbs on fire. The guitar tone is dense and full in every aspect that you would want it to be. The vocals are pure rock and roll awesome...particularly if you like the “stoner” variety; never overboard and always right in the pocket. As someone who tries really hard to sing and sucks at it, let me tell you, a voice like Keith’s is rare and impossible to duplicate no matter how “classic” it may sound. Jason Casanova (bass) and Rick Ferrante (drums) equally share in the supreme density of the records sound. Let me diverge into saying that it isn’t that the record doesn’t have great space-ial qualities (yes, I made that up), it’s just that it uses it to crush your ears in the most enjoyable ways. Like I said, front to back, upside down, right side up, this record is a brilliant power trio rock and roll offering.
If I had to pick out a few “standout” tracks I would suggest all of them, but especially the funky, heavy blues riffing (similar to The Black Keys heavy blues jam “I Got Mine”) of Sweet Lady, a great choice in an opening track with The Message, and my personal favorite and album closing track Drawing Flies (which I estimate to have listened to 100 times since I got the record, no joke).
Definitely a candidate for album of the year on my list, no doubt. 2013 is starting to stack up the great records. I told you I had wonderful news. Cheers.
- The Grime
Review Summary: Subtle sightings of the beast.
Delivering a follow-up to a magnum opus must have put a lot of pressure on Sasquatch even before commencing the creation process. All the heavy riffs and dirty grooves were packed into the gritty epic, III, turning it into a hidden gem and a landmark in the hard rock/stoner sphere. Luckily, the band were aware of the fact they couldn't simply create a clone and get away with it, so they crafted the shorter, more immediate, IV.
While the record doesn't outrun the predecessor, it acts as an important step forward for Sasquatch, since it expands several of their musical facets. As a very equilibrated affair, IV makes room for more intricate pieces that show signs of maturity and constant improvement. Instant cuts like 'The Message' or 'Corner' have that cool, straightforward rock 'n' roll vibe, yet they are merely the starting point of the whole journey, being used to lure the listener in. These pave the way for more consistent tracks such as the heavy and dynamic, 'Smoke Signals' with its prolonged scratchy, guitar wrecking solos, the scorching 'Eye Of The Storm' or the slow-burning finale, 'Drawing Flies'. It might take a few listens for them to sink in, but they show a band feeling comfortable in their own skin, not being afraid to let the riffs speak for themselves.
Whereas a couple of highlights would please an average stoner band nowadays, these guys trimmed IV to keep it devoid of any potential filler. 'Money' brings some more of that fat groove Sasquatch have become notorious for, to accompany Keith Gibbs's powerful vocals. He always doses his delivery for the listener to constantly keep track of the music too and the solo provided towards the end of the track is pure rock fury. Also, the blues influenced, 'Sweet Lady', pays homage to the band's roots, but with their own imprint on it. Saturated with wah and fuzz, the song is a soaring, mid-tempo shuffle with some slick rhythms and smooth licks.
The only real downside here is the lack of acoustic numbers. Tracks like 'New Disguise' and 'Nikki' added a whole new dimension that caught a softer side and completed the overall experience on III and II, respectively. Unfortunately, these have been left out in favor of the harder tunes this time around. Even if this decision doesn't actually affect the final product, it would've made for a more rounded affair, akin to the previous offerings. Regardless, at the end of the day, Sasquatch are still one of the world's premiere hard rock/stoner acts and IV is yet another essential cut in their catalog, monitoring their constant progress.
- Raul Stanciu
Drawing heavily on psychedelic rock from the 1970’s, Sasquatch lays down heavy grooves that stir the soul and make the body weave like a wicker basket. IV is my first experience with this band and I must way they’ve hooked me and reeled me in. This is a band that respects the legends of rock (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and others of that era) by the straight forward chugging might of a band that came decades after their time yet still manages to fit themselves into modern musical culture. I’d bet they have just as much playing these songs as we have listening to them which means they must live in a state of ecstasy beyond mortal boundaries. There’s another thing I’ve noticed. If you want to mellow out, this album would be great to lay back and enjoy but if you wanted to get pumped up, this album could do that too. Hell, you could lay back and see if you could get pumped up enough to float. With so many great things going on within a single album, anything’s possible.
- Jim Dodge
Every once in a while, when lamenting the lack of quality music in today's marketplace, you come across a record that just makes your day. It's like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or eating a Wonka bar and realizing you found the last golden ticket. It's unexpected and it makes you feel like there is some hope in this God-forsaken world. Well, that might be a little over the top but I just found me a new record and I can't get enough.
Sasquatch is not just a large, elusive, fuzzy fellow who resides in the Pacific Northwest. Sasquatch is also the name of the group who has blown me away with their latest release "IV". That's the roman numeral 4 and, fittingly, it follows their first three albums titled "I", "II" and "III", respectively. With regard to this album review, "IV" kicks ass.
From the opening foot-tapper "The Message", Sasquatch had me hooked. Dirty, filthy rock and roll is what we have on our hands here. The power trio of Keith Gibbs on guitar and vocals, Jason Casanova on bass and drummer Rick Ferrante have come together to release one hell of an album. How three guys can create such a thick sound is beyond me.
Since no review would be complete without a "but who do they sound like?" section, I hear some early Soundgarden and a distinctive Ozzy influence in the vocal stylings. Everybody has been influenced by Sabbath, so that goes without saying. By way of comparison, Sasquatch is sort of like a crunchier Clutch. The songs are, well, they're just great.
Sasquatch has been filed under "Stoner rock" (whatever that means) by those who make such classifications. The whole album is chock full of in-your-face, head-bobbing rock and roll and there isn't a bad song on the record. As each song ended, I found myself thinking, "Man, that was cool. What's next?". And each time I was rewarded with another track that made me think, "Hell yeah! This rocks too". And so it went.
"IV" is nine tracks of mid-tempo magic, heavy on the distortion, lyrically melodic and dragged through the muck and mire of rock and roll. The guitar leads display a virtuosity but remain understated enough to not overpower the songs. The bass is thick and powerful, and the drumming keeps it all together while demonstrating a subtle complexity of rhythm. The album just oozes with coolness.
"Sweet Lady" has an awesome wah sound attached to the down-tuned fuzz guitar and the hooks... oh, the hooks. They border on genius in their simplicity.
"IV" features some of the grooviest grooves around and an insane bass sound. Looking for more cowbell? You'll find some on track 4, "Money". If blues is more your style you'll find a taste throughout but especially in "Me and You".
If you like your rock with a little sludge mixed in then give Sasquatch a listen. I love the grooves, I love the hooks, I love this record. Thank you, Sasquatch. For what it's worth, you have brought me hope and made my day a little brighter with your music. I think I'll go out and buy a Wonka bar.
A friend of a friend once saw a Sasquatch. He was walking through a trail in the woods up north. He felt the presence of ... something burning into the back of his neck. It was an uncomfortable feeling, like being followed in a sinister funhouse. He wheeled around quickly, but, as these things go, he saw nothing. And then the odor struck him. Pungent, musky odor washed over his immediate area like a fog bank, clouding his senses and choking him. He fought for breath, but the aroma was so strong his body just said 'no'. This friend of a friend said that the stench was like a chode that hadn't been washed in months and thrust boldly in the face. A few moments later he came face to face with the great, shaggy beast. A single moment after that the guy ran. I'm writing from the north. This is wild country, where beer, rain and flannel intermingle with the seemingly endless expanse of evergreen forest to forge a unique identity. This is Sasquatch country. Many a flannel-draped, hunting-cap donning beer drinking cryptid hunter has set off into the wild and returned with nothing. The legend of the Sasquatch can fascinate the most practical-minded and enthrall the drunkest of men. The reality of the Sasquatch can turn the stoutest of stomachs. Somewhere in the middle we find Sasquatch, the band.
Fully embracing their namesake, Sasquatch keeps it muscular, fuzzy and pungent. It's a lean sound on 'IV', but it's not without some girth. This 'lean' sound may have to do with the surprisingly thin production of the record. But looking past that, the album churns with riffs, hooks and crashing cymbals always simmering nicely, but never quite coming to a boil with a true standout track to serve as a jewel in the crown of the album.
That said, there are no duds on this thing. Not one. Each track stands on its own, propelled by the forceful and energetic vocal delivery of Keith Gibbs with no small measure of help from drummer Rick Ferrante who really shines through with track after track of just right percussion, "Money" being the strongest example of this. But of course, a good drummer can't save an album with no riffs. "The Message", "Smoke Signal", "Wolves At My Door" and "Me and You" all stand shoulder to shoulder with each other in terms of good, tough sounding riffs (with no small measure of girth), but as I said, we never reach that point on the record where one can truly be said to lose his or her shit.
Does it matter that the record never reaches its crescendo? Not really, because if nothing else it's an enjoyable record from "The Message" to "Drawing Flies". You see, I don't fall into that trap that most cryptid hunters do. I'm not out in the woods hunting for the smoking gun, the "big proof", because I can see the evidence all around me. I don't need a Sasquatch carcass because I've got the footprints over here and right over there. Sasquatch leaves its share of giant foot prints with this album. 'IV' and its constituent tracks will most likely see a lot of airtime at Casa de Paranoia.
Sasquatch speaks the stoner tongue fluently. 'IV' embodies most of those elements which dragged me into the stoner rock pit in the first place: high energy, big riffs, crash heavy drums with plenty of propulsion, confident melodic vocals and of course, da fuzz. From a label renowned for the high standard of its output, 'IV' does nothing to tarnish the legacy. I walked into this party when Small Stone released Nightstalker's 'Dead Rock Commandos' and it's been one great release after another. 'IV' simply continues the tradition. Make a plaster mold of this album and display it proudly in Scott Hamilton's museum of strange and fuzzy creatures.
Highlights include: "The Message" and "Smoke Signal".
- LK Ultra
So far our most anticipated albums of 2013 have not yet disappointed and now we can safely add this new album by LA's Sasquatch to that list. The disc starts off with not only the best song on the album, buy arguably the best song in the group's storied catalog. The aptly titled "The Message" delivers a pretty powerful one indeed. The message is simple, this album must be listened to at the maximum possible volume for its overall awesomeness to shine through. The song is the ultimate driving tune with its crushing riff and breakneck paced drumming. The vocals are spot on as always with one of the great rock voices around today in Keith Gibbs. On "Eye of the Storm" the band delivers this heavy melodic hybrid of Mastodon meets Frampton-era Humble Pie. A very cool tune and sound. "Sweet Lady" starts off with a 70s swinging groove (thanks to the gratuitous use of the wah pedal) that gets heavy pretty quick. The result is an amped up track that closely resembles Montrose's "Rock Candy". "Money" sports a grungy riff that echoes classic Soundgarden. Things move a little toward the sludgier side on Smoke Signal. Well, at least as sludgy as a good time rock and roll band from LA can be. The song still manages to rock even in its slow and gloomy glory. The guitar work on "Wolves at My Door" is simply electrifying, not just the riff but the solos smoke as well. "Me and You" masterfully combines a fuzzy blues groove with Gibbs' soulful crooning. "Corner" is a classic Sasquatch track; huge back beat, crushing riff and awesome vocals to be played loudly, preferably on a stretch of open road. The album ends with "Drawing Flies" which is not a cover of the classic Soundgarden song of the same name, but rather a big and anthemic number that just builds and builds. We've always contended that you could put the first three Sasquatch CDs in a changer, hit shuffle and never need to skip a song. We can now revise that thought to include "IV" in the mix as well. This band is so ridiculously consistent in churning out one badass rocker after another, album after album that any new release announcement brings on anticipation of massive proportions.
Don't let the futuristic looking female robot on the cover of IV fool you into thinking that you are in store for some sort of space rock or psychedelic prog, as the Los Angeles trio known as Sasquatch still are intent on delivering catchy, fuzz-drenched stoner grooves. Now nearly a decade into their career, the band have finally fine tuned their ability to mesh killer Black Sabbath/Soundgarden/Mountain/Down/Cactus/Grand Funk/Wolfmother/CoC styled heavy riffs with hook laden vocal passages & melodies. IV squarely rocks, and rock hard, especially on such delicious headbangers like "Sweet Lady", "Money", and the swamp drenched corker "Smoke Signal". I mean, this album has grooves and riffs to die for, guitarist/vocalist Keith Gibbs simultaneously channeling both Tony Iommi & Chris Cornell, with Rick Ferrante (drums) and Jason Casanova (bass) providing the serious bottom end thump. There's just no shortage of addicting riffs here, from "The Message", to "Wolves at My Door", and the epic, textured stomp that is "Drawing Flies", each with memorable vocals and both headbanging & air guitar moments. And the guitar solos? When Gibbs unloads, he can send chills, especially after he steps on that wah-wah pedal.
IV is one of those stoner rock albums that just gets better and better with each listen, and you can literally play this one over and over and not get tired of it one bit. If you are looking for a riff-tastic good time that pay homage to some of the great 'riff' bands of the past, look no further than this gem.
- Pete Pardo
Sasquatch are a band from Los Angeles, California that plays stoner metal and this is a review of their 2013 album "IV" which was released by Small Stone Records.
"The Message" begins with some heavy classic rock/metal guitar riffs, powerful bass drums and melodic hard rock vocals and after a few minutes there is a brief use of blues rock gutiar solos and leads being utilized for a few seconds.
"Eye Of the Storm" begins with some desert rock guitar riffs which leads to some drums a few seconds later as well as some vocals kicking in shortly after that and the song is mostly in a slow and heavy direction.
"Sweet Lady" begins with some heavy psychedelic guitar riffs, powerful bass and drums along with some vocals a few seconds later and after awhile classic rock style guitar leads start coming in and out of the song.
"Money" begins with some heavy guitar riffs, and drums which lead to some vocals kicking in as well as some psychedelic sounds in certain sections of the song and after awhile you can hear some powerful bass guitars being utilized and towards the end there is a brief use of guitar solos and leads being utilized.
"Smoke Signal" begins with some melodic and heavy 70s metal/rock guitar riffs and drums which lead to some bass guitars and vocals and towards the end there is a brief use of guitar solos and leads along with some psych elements.
"Wolves At The Door" begins with a spoken word part before going into powerful bass guitars, psychedelic guitar leads before adding in some rhythm guitars and vocals and the song closes after 3 minutes.
"Me And You" begins with guitar leads and rhythms which then lead to some drums and bass guitars along with some vocals a few seconds later and as the song moves on the leads start kicking in and out.
"Corner" begins with some heavy guitar and bass riffs along with some drums which lead to some vocals kicking in and as the song moves on heavy psych elements start coming in and out of the song.
"Drawing Flies" begins with some clean and heavy classic rock guitar riffs and percussion's which lead to some vocals kicking in along with some real drums and bass guitars and as the song moves on the guitar riffs start adding in some 70s rock melodies and towards the end there is a brief use of guitar solos and leads..
Song lyrics cover love lost, lives wrecked and houses trashed, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy and professional sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on t his recording.
In my opinion Sasquatch are a very great sounding stoner metal band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out t his album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Message" "Money" ''Me And You" and "Drawing Flies". RECOMMENDED BUY.
Sasquatch has always distinguished itself from the hard rock pack by virtue of its songwriting. Rather than come up with one killer riff to beat into the ground for five minutes, leader Keith Gibbs pens actual melodies, with vocal lines that counterpoint the guitar work and flexible rhythms that lend some swing to the pound.
IV (the L.A. trio’s fourth LP, natch) is no exception to the fine work on previous platters. Check out “Smoke Signals,” a roaring, angry, yet still accessible cut for a savory slice of heavy rock & roll pie – it’s a prime example of what the band does best. From the singalong tuneship powering rockers “The Message” and “Wolves At My Door” to the underlying melody giving a lift to grinders like “Eye of the Storm” and “Me and You,” Sasquatch does more than just bash it out amid variations on “Weren’t the 70s great?” Forget the Me Decade – Sasquatch rawks in the here and now.
- Michael Toland
"A decade is a significant length of time by any measure, whether you’re talking about accelerating divorce rates or playing in a rock and roll band. Add to that the fast-paced changes initiated by technology and a decade can feel like a lifetime – or, in the case of Los Angeles rockers Sasquatch, a turbulent yet accomplished career.
More importantly though, this career-establishing trilogy managed to seduce consumers and critics: beginning with the debut’s roaring-down-the-highway riffs, hypnotic grooves and occasional forays into southern rock; continuing with the sophomore LP’s increasingly focused, hook-laden hard rock classicism (standout “Barrel of a Gun” lacked only payola to become a massive radio hit); and culminating in the third album’s heightened states of fuzz-distortion and earth-rumbling power chords, capable of reducing Marshall stacks to so much plastic pudding."
Well it's here. Today is the day the Small Stone Records officially releases IV by Sasquatch to the rock hungry public. Well worth the wait from 2010's III. II has been my favorite album by this band for a long time but the more I listen to IV, I think I'm finally beginning to forget about II. IV has it all for me. Big sounding songs, great written lyrics, riffs that get stuck in your head (listen to "Sweet Lady") and overall, a great album from the opening note, to the last. It is the complete package. There's isn't anything I could find wrong with it. It is flawless. 2013 has turned out to be a monster year for new and great music. Ever since Clutch released Earth Rocker, I was sure that would be my top album of the year. Not so much now. I'm as addicted and mesmerized by IV. If you like heavy classic rock, stoner rock or just like good music (not radio crap), this is the album you need. Vinyl freaks will be glad to know that early next year this will drop on wax.
Pretty much any time I receive an album from Small Stone, it's a reason to celebrate. Even more so when that new album is from Sasquatch. The album begins with "The Message," and it is exactly what you'd expect from Sasquatch: loud, fuzzy guitar, and rumbling rhythms that you'll feel deep in your gut.
"Sweet Lady" is a bit of a curveball. Somewhere under all that fuzz is a blues groove. I'm not going to say it sounds like Elmore James or anything, but the guitar in this song is rooted pretty deeply in the blues. There is also a psychedelic component in this song. All in all, this just feels like an old tune. You know, from a time when rock records were actually the biggest sellers.
Speaking of grooves, if you want a song that will really get your head moving and your fist pumping, check out "Money." Yeah, people might look at you funny when you're headbanging in your car with this song blaring out the windows, but that just means those people don't get it.
When I listen to Sasquatch, I wonder why more bands don't make music that rocks this hard. In fact, allow me to use this review as a manifesto of sorts. On or after 24 Spetember, go out and get this album not only if you are a fan of Small Stone or heavy rock in general, but also as a way to liberate yourself from all the sensitive alt rock and pop we're bombarded with daily. You're welcome.
- 5/5 Stars
- Gary Schwind
…and Sasquatch start again from the exact point, where they stopped with their third full-length. As always they provide heavy riffage through their amps and give us the perfect soundtrack for the compulsive roadtrip through the desert … on a lonesome road … in a muscle car. The stonerheads are romantic though. Those three guys play music together since 2001, are kind of well known within the scene and also beyond but somehow they still stay unnoticed.
Their music is good – without any doubt – because otherwise it would not have been used in those soundtracks and they had to scout for other jobs after their first record. The riffs are straight, ass kicking and are driven by an agressive drum style. Some psychedelic parts loosen the guitar volleys and you can relax for a few moments just to get the next thick riff blasting out of the speakers. The bass is like a massive bulwark flattered by the guitar solos.
All in all it is a good mixture and well done from songwriting up to the performance.The reaction on most of their songs is "awesome‟. It should be: "awesome, play it again!‟. I guess that is exactly the point, because while listening to this record you just can not not beat time with your foot and nod along with your head. But when the last tone faded there is nothing left – no melody has settled in the ear canal. Maybe I just have to listen to it a few more times … because in doing so it is a whole lot of fun!
- Geschrieben von timcky
As bluesy, soulful and classically rocking as ever, Sasquatch return with their aptly-titled fourth album, IV, on Small Stone. Three years doesn’t seem like an especially long time for a band to take between outings — it’s roughly consistent for the Los Angeles trio with their 2004 self-titled debut, 2006′s II and 2010′s III (review here) — but still, IV feels like it’s been a while in arriving. Recorded earlier this year at Mad Oak (guitar and vocals) in Boston and Rustbelt in Detroit (drums and bass), one might expect the three-piece to sound fractured or cobbled together somehow, but though the nine-tracks of IV are professionally crisp, there’s nothing lacking in natural feel throughout, and Sasquatch‘s latest finds itself basking in the fullest fuzz since the first record. Taking the larger production sensibility that showed up their last time out after II‘s more stripped-down classic power trio feel and meshing it with gorgeous tonality from guitarist/vocalist Keith Gibbs, IV calls to mind some of the best aspects of heavy rock — timelessness achieved by means of modernizing classic methods and structures, and updating heavy swing and swagger to sound not like a put-on, but like the inheritor of an expressive mode that’s dug underground to hide like mammals while the dinosaurs get taken out by an asteroid of bullshit — and proves over its vinyl-ready 43-plus minutes that Sasquatch deserve mention among the foremost of modern American practitioners of the form. Whether it’s the ultra-catchy opener “The Message” or more sonically spacious “Smoke Signal” or closer “Drawing Flies,” Gibbs, bassist Jason Casanova and drummer Rick Ferrante proffer exceptional songwriting, hitting all the marks along the way for gotta-groove fuzz rock supremacy while maintaining a stamp and personality of their own, characterized by Gibbs‘s belt-it-out vocals on “Sweet Lady” or the bevvy of solos he seems to just exude as Casanova and Ferrante maintain progressions behind, keeping the songs tight, purposeful and never overly indulgent. It’s beering music that makes little effort toward class but winds up there anyway, and while III offered a host of memorable cuts, each piece on IV both provides a standout and feeds into the larger, overarching flow.
There are moments particularly on side B where IV borders on too perfect — thinking of songs like “Wolves at My Door” and the shorter “Corner” — but, 12 minutes shorter than its predecessor, there’s no filler on Sasquatch‘s fourth, and even where their songwriting modus is most laid bare with a, “Let’s make this into a verse and chorus,” mentality, the quality of the material stands up to the familiarity of the intent. In addition, Gibbs has dialed back some of the Chris Cornell-style vocals that came out on III cuts like “Pull Me Under,” so that even in slower, more-open tempo stretches like that early into “Smoke Signal,” he sounds more like his own singer, giving IV all the more a sense of accomplishment. That song, “Smoke Signal,” is one of two included that top seven minutes long — the other is “Drawing Flies” — and both are used to close out their respective sides, underlining the classic album structure of IV overall as a collection of high-quality individual pieces set to the best working order to bring out a dynamic feeling of movement between them. The earlier “Eye of the Storm” (5:12) reaches for some of the same ground, but ultimately finds itself distinguished more for the strength of its hook in following ultra-catchy opener “The Message” — simply one of the finest choruses the band has ever written — despite also slowing the tempo from that track. Built around motor riffing and straight-ahead uptempo groove, “The Message” arrives at its chorus to find Gibbs‘ double-tracked and singalong-ready with a cadence and lyrics that are simple enough to leave an immediate first impression that lasts through the rest of the album and of course the first of many stellar solos layered in atop rhythm tracks in a way that’s professional but not overdone, a long feedback outro adding to the edge en route to the guitar opening of “Eye of the Storm,” which has a more melodic riff and makes itself felt with a wash of crash from Ferrante and glorious bed of low end from Casanova. Vocal harmonies distinguish the chorus further, leading to second-half stomp that recalls some of the last album’s more weighted stretches, an Ozzy reference tossed in (“…the white horse it’s symbolic of course”) tossed in for good measure in a deceptively intense ending. Seems surprising they don’t go back to the original chorus at the end, but that’s likely the point.
Picking up at the running clip where “The Message” left off, the wah-soaked “Sweet Lady” is all groove, and both it and the subsequent “Money” stand testament to Sasquatch’s songwriting acumen. A lot of heavy rockers can make a chorus. Fewer can make a catchy chorus and fewer still can make them at the level of Sasquatch. “Sweet Lady” doesn’t hit on the same kind of boogie idolatry as “Wolves at My Door” to come, but a deep-seated piano chord in the chorus adds barroom flair all the same. Two verses, two choruses, into the solo, back to the verse, chorus, end — it’s as basic as traditional rock/pop song structures get, but Gibbs, Casanova and Ferrante make it their own all the same as “Sweet Lady” struts to a finish and “Money” slides in on a guitar intro and tide of thick fuzz. Interesting that Gozu‘s Marc Gaffney doesn’t show up until “Smoke Signal,” which follows, since the verse riff of “Money” has so much in common tonally with Gozu‘s The Fury of a Patient Man, but even so, Sasquatch retain their individuality through “Money” just as much as everywhere else on IV, and when Gaffney comes in on “Smoke Signal,” it’s to pepper one of the album’s most landmark grooves with “woo hoos,” adding soul to the payoff of a side-long build. Brooding in its beginnings, “Smoke Signal” is less directly reliant on its chorus to distinguish it than its larger feel, but when the three-piece lock into the riff that drives the last four minutes of the song, any quota for hook is duly met. Gaffney arrives followed shortly by guitar effects that may or may not be provided by Small Stone honcho Scott Hamilton (he was credited initially with an appearance on the track, but that credit seems to be gone in the finished product), rounding out “Smoke Signal” and the first half of IV with its most hypnotic moment to let “Wolves at My Door” handle the snap back to reality with its bluesy shuffle and steady stream of leads. Less of a landmark for its chorus than for the general shift in approach it shows, “Wolves at My Door” starts out side B with a different flavor, subtly indicating that Sasquatch won’t necessarily just be retreading the ideas presented on the first half of IV in the second.
And sure enough, they don’t. “Wolves at My Door” and “Corner” are the two shortest cuts on IV, and while “Me and You” recalls some of side A’s verse/chorus tradeoffs, the feeling of space in Ferrante‘s cymbals and the swing of the song overall remain in line with “Wolves at My Door” as well, and Gibbs‘ vocals stay singly-layered as well, marking another distinction. Sasquatch would hardly be the first rock band to put the big choruses up front, but “Me and You” stays plenty catchy anyway, honing in on a Dixie Witch-style delivery ending with (of course) a big rock finish that rings out and moves well into “Corner,” which is essentially based around the single riff that Gibbs establishes at the outset, a fuzzy bridge serving as a kind of instrumental chorus between verses punctuated by tom thuds, until with less than a minute to go, the band shifts to a catchier progression, changing up the structure in what feels like a purposeful way but one that doesn’t necessarily serve the song itself so much as the album as a whole. Still, the band has never been much for playing to burl and where they easily could on “Corner,” they don’t, giving the nonetheless dudely swagger a more natural, unforced vibe, fading to a quick finish to let “Drawing Flies” reference “Eye of the Storm” in its melodic, open tone and “Smoke Signal” in its echoing spaciousness. In a way, IV can be seen as being about its payoffs — namely, about its moments of arrival in “Smoke Signal” and “Drawing Flies.” That’s not to say the rest of the album doesn’t offer its own satisfactions, because yes, it does, but once either of the two longer side-closers kicks in, you know in listening that you’ve gotten to where the band wants you to be. “Drawing Flies” is slower than anything since “Smoke Signal” as well, restrained in its pace, but nestled into a flowing mid-paced groove that’s given breadth all the more thanks to Casanova‘s bassline, shifting at its midpoint to nod-ready riffing that, in turn, stops to amp buzz topped by Gibbs‘ vocals before the chorus kicks back in. This is IV‘s triumph and its final thrust, and Sasquatch do right in riding it out, Gibbs taking a solo with under two minutes to go that adds drama to the finale, which comes on in a wash that comprises the last minute for an ending as big as the rest of the album justifies, holding up even more on repeat listens owing to the depth of approach that comes out across the second half after the more immediate impact of the first. Varied, unfuckwithably tight in its composition and performance, and showing a level of heavy rock mastery that even III didn’t as high as its peaks were, IV seems to find the balance that Sasquatch have been looking for all along and might prove over time to be their strongest outing to date. No wonder it felt so long in getting here, since as soon as you hear it you’ll feel like you’ve known it forever.
- H.P. Taskmaster