Sofa King Killer Midnight Magic

After last year’s Lust Crime And Holiness EP on At A Loss, Akron, Ohio’s sons of sludge Sofa King Killer were nearly drowning in potential over their follow-up, and Midnight Magic (yep, just like that vintage Atari 2600 pinball game) does not disappoint. Opener "It’s Fun To Be The Bad Guy” sets the lead-footed tone for the proceedings, from its deep, ploughshare grooves to Ryan Burgy’s excellent emphysema-ravaged vocals — who has to remind the band that the song is over at the fade-out. Chris Chiera coaxes a distinctive ’70s fuzz tone (like Focus or Edgar Winter) out of his Sunn amps on "Taller Buckets Hold More” and "The Getaway,” both teeming with Skynyrd nooks and crannies, and "The God Out Of Reach” finds him pumping his wah-wah pedal like a more metal Nebula. Beginning and ending with Paul Bartholet’s creeping then funky bass, the instrumental "Killing People Is Easy” stows away in the trunk of ZZ Top’s Eliminator hot rod before "No Other Path To Pursue” dives back into the stew via old Abdullah. A second instrumental, "An Ode To Myself,” wades in Eyehategod-like feedback and Southern rock puddles, but the punkier "Don’t Slow Me Down” jars the listener out of riff bliss like Weedeater. The multifarious "Thibodeaux” reprises Nebula in a big way with a cow bell and stoner swagger, and the closer "Holy Bottle” shakes Iron Monkey off their collective backs. In their continued quest for the almighty groove, SKK come up mud-caked but grinning, and Midnight Magic is one step closer to ultimate pay dirt. (Retribute)