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The 22-20s: a new way to
demolish your speakers

22-20s (EMI)


There’s a current trend in music that’s sort of
straddling the line between indie and mainstream,
and has been for a few years now, that has my full
attention. Some acts have nailed it, some have
swung and missed, but regardless, it’s still at the
point where everyone trying it seems to be sincere.

It’s the garage movement — a stream of gut-bucket
rock pumped out of broken Marshall amps with no
apologies and no obvious frills. . I’ll let you sift
through on your own time who has made it big in
this avenue, who hasn’t and who should just stop. Instead, I’ll point you in the direction of one band who has
nailed this.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the 22-20s.

It was probably only fitting that I stumbled upon them by accident. Named in honor of a Skip Spence song, these
four lads from the UK play with a tight, ferocious fury that blows up live. Now, live never seems to translate to
plastic these days, which makes their debut LP so refreshing — this thing kicks in your stereo.

The opening blues-rock stomp of “Devil in Me” takes everything from Johnny Cash to Creedence Clearwater
Revival to the White Stripes into a blender and spits out an instant rock classic. The drums and bass play as one
fluid monster with the organ filling in the gaps, while Martin Trimble rings some wicket tones out of his guitar
while barking over it. If this were High Fidelity, I’d be tempted to call it one of my favorite Side One’s Track One.

The nice thing is that this is not just a one-shot, one trick-pony. “Shoot Your Gun” shows a surprising
sophistication (in spite of the title). “Friends” shows a gentler side that doesn’t sound forced or insincere. This
would’ve fit nicely onto side two of Sticky Fingers. “The Things That Lovers Do” has a brooding, intense build
throughout that leaves the listener hanging, which, in this case, works wonders.

The highlight of the bunch is “22 Days.” In less than three days, they punch out one of the best pieces of crunch
this side of the White Stripes. Trimble’s shouts of “Goodbye BABE!” and the lyrics in between sound like a
twisted cross of Blonde on Blonde-era Dylan and Iggy the Stooge.

This record romps. It’s one of the best pieces of pure, unadulterated bliss to come screaming out of my
speakers — be they on my head, in my car or lining my stereo — in a good long while, with an extra bite to keep
making me reach for it once more.

This record is what Aerosmith tried oh-so hard to do on whatever that “blues” record was they tried to make. This
is real, rude and raw. These are the 22-20s, and, hopefully, they haven’t played anywhere near their last note.