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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Rocking Hard Across Racial Borders

A couple of years ago, the New York-based 24-7 Spyz was the black-rock upstart, a band with a funky thrash-metal sound that promisingly built on both the punk-rooted Bad Brains and hard-rock Living Colour.

The good news on Sunday at the Whisky, where the quartet introduced L.A. to its new singer and drummer, was that the band has lost none of its commitment to rocking hard across racial borders.

Guitarist Jimi Hazel is still a wonder (it’s appropriate that he shares a first name with Mr. Hendrix and a last with former P-Funk guitarist Eddie Hazel), while Jeff Brodnax had no problem taking over for departed singer P. Fluid.

If anything, the Spyz kicked the older material harder than ever, with banshee Brodnax taking the songs over as if he’d created them.

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The bad news was the new material.

Generally, the new songs had too much messing around with time and tempo changes and little focus in the way of melodic or rhythmic hooks--drummer Joel Maitoza’s conventional pop-metal approach flattened out all the essential funk dynamics--leaving only Hazel’s impressive guitar flights and flurries to hold on to.

Newcomer the Hard Corps, which opened the first show Sunday, has a good gimmick--three white rockers teamed with two black rappers and a scratcher. Too bad the New Yorkers don’t make much of it.

The combination produces a few notable twists, such as the metal-oriented musicians’ “sampling” a Zep riff here or the “Perry Mason” and “Mission: Impossible” themes there, but in the end both the rock and the rap are pretty ordinary. Anthrax meets Public Enemy it is not.

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