Review of $ Album by Mark Sultan

Although not being chased down in an elaborate man hunt by an inept detective like Tom Hanks, as Leonardo Dicaprio was in 'Catch Me If You Can', you still have to admire the sheer number of alias's and a.k.a's The Sultan of Montreal has amassed in his relatively short 37 years. A former disciple of the punk ethic he maybe but BBQ, Blortz, Von Needles, Skutch, etc. etc ......or simply plain old Mark to his mum doesn't necessarily believe in the need for following the norms of accepted convention.

The former drummer, one man band, frontman and half duo come Richard Branson label owner has been pouring out albums in various guises over the past decade for Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos and King Khan & The BBQ Show. $ is his second full solo album, and follow up to 2007's 'Sultanic Verses'.

If you're a fan of The Cramps, The Revillos, The Birthday Party or just great 60's Garage Bands with an ear for a left field hook and dirty scuzzy backdrop then you'll find plenty to enjoy on $. The sonic adventure kicks off with a tribal drum beat and fused guitar riffs building to a potent crescendo of pulsating fuzziness. It's a full 4 minutes before you get to the vocal in the psychedelic Floydian romp of 'Icicles'. The throwback rhythms and raw production persist throughout the album. The nearly mimicked beats and licks from a fondly loved era of especially American, cult status inspiring, underground sounds abound everywhere.

Mark Sultan $ Album

The choicest cuts from the 13 tracks have to be the Phil Philips & The Twilight's sound-a-like 'Ten Of Hearts' and the mightily infectious 'Go-Berserk'. Fit to grace any coming of age, retrospective or nostalgia laden teen drama anywhere, they are gloriously juvenile. The guitar work may not get the nod from the Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame but it will make your heart smile.

The overall quality on $ is never maintained which is unfortunate as with a little editing of the over ambitious set list it may have had more focus and cohesion. Where it works you get a little Ramones (Status) and even the odd Kinks type harmony 'I Get Nothin' From My Girl'. Where it doesn't Mark Sultan does a near Noddy Holder vocal on parts of 'I'll Be Lovin' You' and elsewhere just seems to get bored, or lazy, as with 'Just To Hold You' .

$ is a dirty romp full of fun and frenzy that will serve well as an introduction to the many manifestations of Mark Sultan. It may be a little bloated but as he says ..........."I am proud of it. There has been a lot of positive reaction from the strangest of places...............Even the bad reviews are fine by me........ Sorry I couldn't meet some kind of formula." Formulaic it ain't, but then again nor is it formidable.

Andrew Lockwood.

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