The Chargers Street Gang

Holy the Bop Apocalypse (Get Hip)

The Chargers October 5 The Beachland
About 40 seconds into the opening cut, "Say No More Forever, Amen," the Chargers Street Gang begins to curiously tug at the fraying musical threads of complacent contemporary pop rock ideals. That tug, over the course of an entire record, initiates an unraveling so menacing and manic that, upon hearing it, you'd be hard-pressed to believe any of the customary "rock is dead" nonsense that rears its misguided head every few years. The absolute intensity of Holy the Bop Apocalypse is both exhausting and exhilarating. People just don't make this kind of wild-eyed, precocious rock and roll anymore.

The Chargers stumble and fumble toward their own unrelenting sort of brilliance. Songs like "Black & Tan," with its squawking blues harmonica; "Omega Bro" and its immeasurable, insane dose of skronking "jazz" horns; and the hometown blues of "Every Light on Euclid" ("I hit every light on Euclid / coming home to you") are all finesse and muscle underneath the apparent chaos. These are the sounds of kids clawing their way out of a murky, mirthless Cuyahoga River. Holy effectively mixes Detroit's Stooges-via-MC5 garage racket with a Midwestern, blue-collar rock escapism, pissy lyrics, punk fury, a raunchy New York Dolls/ Stonesy shuffle, and even a dash of Kiss humor (lifting verbatim a line from Kiss's "Black Diamond" in "Shitty Song"). It becomes a loud, merciless, and wholly indefatigable slab of rock narcissism. In the end, the Chargers' stew boils over into such a scalding rock-and-roll ruckus that Holy unwittingly serves as a momentary antidote to the musical stagnation that seems to have mortally infected this once-proud rock-and-roll town.

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