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Albums Of The Week: Swami John Reis | Ride The Wild Night

The indie-punk veteran kicks up his heels and lets his hair down on his solo debut.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ride The Wild Night is punk veteran Swami John Reis’s long-awaited solo debut. It is neither completely similar nor dissimilar to his previous bands (Hot Snakes, Night Marchers, The Sultans, Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu), yet the sound is immediately familiar and assuring — like an old friend you lost touch with that comes back into your life only to ask to borrow money. The music is an amalgam of ’60s folk-punk, ’70s punk-punk and vitage rock ’n’ roll, filtered through Reis’s unregistered, trademark sensibilities.

“I wanted to celebrate some of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll in its transitional periods,” Reis said. “Flaming Groovies, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Kinks, The Saints and others created some of the most exciting recordings while also connecting the musical past to its future. That really appeals to me.”

Recorded by Reis at City Of Refuge (Night Marchers, Black Lips, The Spits) and mixed by Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Diamanda Galas) at Singing Serpent, Ride The Wild Night is built on stentorian bedrock of savage drumming by J. Sinclair K. of Hot Snakes and the pounding acoustic piano of Joe Guevara.

Also adding their expertise to the mix is Chris Prescott (Pinback), Gar Wood (Hot Snakes), Glen Galloway (Truman’s Water), Jacob Turnbloom (Mrs. Magician) and Jordan Clark (PLOSIVS). With this backing, Swami John Reis finalizes it with his throaty basso and weaponizes the files with roaring electric guitars, rapid acoustic guitar strum and bass.

“All of these stories are real — they just might not be completely true,” Reis adds. “The words come from what I overhear through my fence, what I see across the street, pictures I see in my head, experiences that I can’t forget or am grateful to remember.” If there is a loose theme throughout the record he offers, “Musically and lyrically, there is a motivation to surrender to a restless and impulsive spirit that can only be satisfied by breaking things. Creating rubble for better or worse.”

Critics and fans alike have long referred to Reis’ signature voice as The Velvet Yawn, and never has that description been more apt on Ride The Wild Night. Hear his defiant, croak-howl on these 11 tracks in what might be his most autobiographical work yet.”