I'm thinking I should pepper this blog with a few more retro favourites. I love the music of the 70s, and not just the stuff that came out of Germany! Groundhogs were a band like many of their contemporaries that started out as primarily a blues based band, like Fleetwood Mac or Ten Years After, and fairly straight blues rock was the sound of their first two albums. Things changed with their third album 'Thank Christ For The Bomb', and by this, their fourth album, from 1971, they had gone down a far harder, darker and more progressive route. Like the aforementioned bands, Groundhogs had a terrific guitarist - Tony McPhee in this case. Words like blistering and coruscating spring to mind when describing his playing on this disc: he totally destroys. Ostensibly this is a power trio, which is always a great setting for a brilliant guitarist - no matter how much the bass and drums pummel away, there is always space for as much noise as he wants to make. There is plenty of distortion and wah, and utterly compelling dynamics - you can sense an oncoming outpouring of guitar fury, and you can feel the serious intent take hold of you when he steps on the volume pedal and lets rip. It's not just the lead work, though; the move away from the blues resulted in loads of interesting riffs, and open, flowing song structures. McPhee's voice is not the greatest, but is perfectly suited to the music, and just sounds so 70s. They hark back to a more pure blues on the album closer 'Ground Hog', where Tony McPhee shows the range of his skills with some fiery slide on amplified acoustic guitar.
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