Atomic Bitchwax II

The sophomoric slump has killed many a great band. Not being able to live up to the standard of the first release has left many bands picking up the pieces after releasing their make-or-break second record. The Atomic Bitchwax is not one such band. While their 1999 debut had many retro rock aficionados blown away with their immense tip of the hat to the best dinosaur rock of the '70s, the follow-up is even better. Led by the wonderfully wah-wah screech of Ed Mundell's guitar heroics, the trio race through nine originals and a cover of the Atomic Rooster classic "Play The Game," which should make a mark with the uninitiated. Also worth noting is the great guitar interplay between Mundell and Gov't Mule leader Warren Haynes, on the track "Smokescreen." A great second record, II only makes one wonder how much longer Mundell will spend with his full-time gig in Monster Magnet, before making the Bitchwax his number one priority. (Tee Pee)