Album review: Taipei Houston – Once Bit Never Bored

Fuzz-tastic California duo Taipei Houston master the riff on killer debut…

Album review: Taipei Houston – Once Bit Never Bored
Nick Ruskell

When you can wield a riff properly, you can do endless amounts with rock’n’roll’s basic ingredients. Taipei Houston are so good at it they can manage with just bass, drums and vocals and still sound like they could carve a groove into the Earth. Elastically bending around one another, brothers Layne (bass/vocals) and Myles (drums) Ulrich (yes, of the Danish tennis and metal drumming dynasty) have the same dynamic swing as Fu Manchu or Clutch, with the scrappy garage-rock energy of The White Stripes. It’s a potent, electrifying concoction.

Once Bit Never Bored tumbles past in a frenzy of one-two bass licks, perfectly locked in step with Myles’ liquid rhythms. As The Sun Sets is a full-one stoner groover, all bluesy dirt and low-end glory, while Hypocrite adds a few trickier corners to the mix, and the angular The Middle has shades of Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage in its main riff. Throughout, it’s served up with levels of fat and grease that would give your doctor a nightmare. Best of all, it feels engrained, the work of countless hours developing that musical ESP until, like Seattle groove-masters the Melvins, it’s just What They Do.

If you caught them at Reading & Leeds, you’ll know this anyway. Happily, they’ve caught the fuzz on record, along with their kinetic power. If you’re into this stuff, you’ll have heard the elements Once Bit Never Bored is built on many times over before, but they’re one of the bands for whom the skill and dexterity is as impressive as the actual songs they’re playing. It bites, and it’s never boring.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Fu Manchu, The White Stripes, Royal Blood

Once Bit Never Bored is out now via C3

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