If I was to say Riddle Of Steel, you’d probably think of Conan The Barbarian. This is perfectly valid, but you should really be thinking about these dudes and their poppy, stoner-rock vibes. I wrote a short piece on their album Got This Feelin’ back in December, praising it to the heavens (read as: drunkenly claiming it to be the best album ever). Frontman Andrew Elstner went on to enjoy making that bomb-chord noise in sludge-rockers Torche for Harmonicraft and various 7″s in 2012 and last year. Torche also have an album out sometime this year (really hope Bishop In Arms is the official title), but he’s also been busy recording with his other band….may I present: Tilts.
Tilts (big pinball fans) have been kicking around for a few years, having funded their first album (Self-Titled) through a Kickstarter campaign; decided to repeat this success with their second effort, Cuatro Hombres (Four Men) achieving well over what they needed – by $2,500 – top work guys! Cuatro Hombres is 10 tracks of vibrant, raucous, beer-can-smashing rock ‘n roll. Influences range from the swaggering sleaze-rock of ZZ-Top, to the stone-spiral of a poppier-Fu Manchu, to thick Zeppelin jams, crammed to the brim with choruses that will make the Foo Fighters scratch their heads, thinking “hey, these dudes stole our ideas!”
Tilts are having fun and they want the listener to experience the same frantic, adrenalin shot of incandescent, technicolour splatter-rock as well..
The slow-burning opener of Brown Gum brings to mind the laid-back jams of Desert Sessions, whilst Elstner’s, drawling vocals match perfectly to There’s Nothing Left To Lose-era Dave Grohl. Kobra Kommander drunkenly announces it’s presence, kicking down the door, 5 beers down the line, faintly stinking of weed, fists pumping to the sky and a dangerously maniacal grin plastered on its sweaty face. Slick and sickeningly infectious grooves erupt forth over this frantic stoner-punk rock outburst, completed by buzzing, razor-sharp guitars and breathless drumming. Axel’s Rows (good work) takes us back to the robot-rock world; slower than the previous sweat-soaked blast of power; this s a foot-stamping, romp, completed by some subtle keyboard flourishes on the crowing chorus “would be nicer….would it be better, if we gave up all together...” which I can’t help but think is a brilliant snarking dig at a certain temperamental roast-dinner eating frontman.
Tilts are having fun and they want the listener to experience the same frantic, adrenalin shot of incandescent, technicolour splatter-rock as well. The rollicking drum rolls and marching riffs on Thomas Jefferson II, are utterly infectious and wild – it constructs the world ANTHEM in massive letters, built on smashed guitars, snapped drumsticks and broken skins. The breakdown at the 2 minute mark is utterly gorgeous – a squealing, Van Halen-esque shred of crunching exuberance. Likewise, Skeletears, is a grit-rattling, fuzzcore rumble of grumbling bass-heavy rock and sounds sordid and wickedly comical when coupled alongside the trashy guitar squeals.
The brilliantly named Titanium Falcon is all handclaps, and oil-drenched, sleazy blues-rock and it sounds fucking fantastic, whilst the spiked edge of the riff-heavy Touchdowns, is a nod to recent Torche material – pairing their gut-rupturing stoner-rock jams, with sludge-pop choruses, at a blistering, guttural pace.
Giving Elstner’s previous and current musical exploits, it’s no surprise that album closer, The Sleepover is a somewhat alternate beast. The opening riff is a chugging, metallic scratch, akin to something off the most recent Mastodon album, bursting headlong into an upbeat, head-banging jolt of bouncing, up-tempo, rock ‘n roll. It slowly builds in progression; as guitars begin to change and evolve, the drumming becomes more complex, an eerie and metallic whine creeping in as the bass grows to a throaty, stoner-gargle. By the 4 minute mark, the drumming is on the verge of a breakdown, scattered, and unbalanced it careens off on a wild tangent before ending abruptly, leaving an eerie and lost-sounding hum.
Cuatro Hombres will make you reminiscence about old times, throw yourself about in a frenzy, chug a beer and want to start a band. Righteous jams flow forth from Tilts and it’s a raucous, party-smasher – fans of early Foo Fighters, desert rock and Torche should welcome them with open arms and raised devil horns.