Reviews for CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN- I Am The Golden Gate Bridge


See now here's an album you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley. Oh it's not that 'I Am The Golden Gate Bridge', the debut full-length from one-man band Creature With The Atom Brain, is a nasty, violent thing. No, the real disturbing stuff here is in the details. In titles like 'Rapeman's Scalp', in lines about shiny guns and strange smells, and in songs that sound like robots waking up and taking over using all our electric guitars. And then there's the concern that comes with never knowing what this Creature (Aldo Struyf to his mum, member of Millionaire and The Mark Lanegan Band on his CV) is going to do next. Over just 45-minutes here Struyf concocts nails-down-a-chalkboard chills ('The Psychedelic World…'), commands off-kilter doom ('Blackened Roses…'), plays garage rock so fuzzed-up and furious that it makes Queens Of The Stone Age sound like Fall Out Boy ('Not A Sect') and twists a folksy, country turn into the background music for the most frightening journey of your life ('Broken Flowers Grow'). Providing light among the shade are sizzling synth lines, memorable riffs and irresistible melodies too so delve deeper if you dare but do remember to keep repeating, 'it's only a record, it's only a record…'. - dirty grinding grizzled fuzzed up blues - think deep purple shimmying up to the melvins and kicking several shades out the zep - gnarled boogie from Belgium - bugger all info alas though we must admit being rather taken by ’not a sect’ which to these ears sounds like jaz killing joke taking charge at the steering wheel of ministry’s hotrod and making road kill out of bearded chart truckers zz top. Its mooted that there’s a whole album worth of this stuff around ready to terrorise a record rack near you shortly.
I Am The Golden Gate Bridge is the first full-length offering from Creature With The Atom Brain, and an ideal choice for the connoisseur of gritty rock and damaged melody.
The Creature With The Atom Brain is better known as Aldo Struyf; the name may not be instantly recognisable, but if I mention that he played guitar and keys for Millionaire and fulfils synth-playing duties for no less a luminary than Mark Lanegan, you’ll realise that you’ve probably heard something with him playing on it at some point.
It’ll also give you some idea of the sonic pedigree that informs I Am The Golden Gate Bridge, but not quite as much as Struyf’s confessed adoration of The 13th Floor Elevators and The Butthole Surfers; Creature With The Atom Brain make fuzzy stripped-back rock’n'roll noise with a generous helping of weird.
As with all good rock music, the secret is in the melodies. Creature With The Atom Brain have a good ear for riffs that are immensely catchy despite having that “damn, I could play that” simplicity that makes you want to pick up an instrument and join in. I Am The Golden Gate Bridge is the sort of album that you find yourself whistling along to.
At least, I found that I was whistling along to it – and what that says about my mental state, I have no idea, but it may not be entirely positive from a psychiatrist’s viewpoint. Because as catchy as the tunes on I Am The Golden Gate Bridge may be, they’re also kind of schizoid and off-kilter.
Creature With The Atom Brain seem to have a knack of developing simple but slightly jarred rhythms and riffs that either run on longer or repeat sooner than you expect them to, making you feel as if maybe you zoned out for half a second and missed a bit.
The instrumentation of I Am The Golden Gate Bridge adds to the sense of hazy disorientation, too. Guitar riffs, rough and abrasive, crunched up like used tinfoil by distortion pedals of old and dubious provenance; synth patches that you’d be hard pressed to call anything other than evil; monologue mantras and stoned drawls for the vocals, some of which are contributed by Struyf’s buddies Tim “Millionaire” Vanhamel and Mark “Mark Lanegan” Lanegan.
Creature With The Atom Brain make drug music, basically. By that I don’t necessarily mean music made under the influence of drugs (though I wouldn’t want to rule it out, either), nor music advocating the use of drugs. But as an example of the sort of skewed reality that chemically assisted living might create in the world between your ears, I Am The Golden Gate Bridge rates pretty highly.
It also rates pretty highly as a dirty and damaged rock’n'roll album. Creature With The Atom Brain conjure up the vibes of long hot summer days spent strung out in badly-furnished rooms in search of inspiration and cheap alcohol, or bumbling around the strip-joint neighbourhood stoned out of your brain. Just remember what to say when the cops stop you and ask who you are - “I Am The Golden Gate Bridge, man!”

CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN: "I Am The Golden Gate Bridge" (Jesus Factory Records)
RELEASED? 31st March

SOUNDS LIKE? Wonderland, wonder-friggin-land. Space-rawking, deadpan, dead good 'world of riff' kind of concept album. It's like some aliens have turned up and based their entire appreciation of our culture on the broadcast of a Hawkwind headlined Glastonbury and are making friends by showing us how the blues make it all better, and they do.
IS IT ANY GOOD? It's boss, wicked, radical and durned tooting. It's on here, now and loud and we've got everything else!

Plastic Ashtray

Creature With The Atom Brain
I Am The Golden Gate Bridge
Creature with the atom brain is an Antwerp based project revolving mainly around one man, Aldo Struyf. They produce sleazy rock in the vein of Black Sabbath and QOTSA however this is cleverly blended with pop and experimental influences to create a sordid but strangely sumptuous record. The production is crisp yet rips through barriers when necessary, this is a record which isn’t afraid to say and do what it thinks. It sets up conventions and them brings them down. When you think you hear a gentle acoustic guitar break creep in, a low-end riff will enter over the top and when you think the record may break into extravagance it doesn’t. Guitar solos are well handled if it is possible to call them guitar solo’s at all and the drums always seem spot on. If the record isn’t always coherent at every stage then that’s a necessary exclusion as it’s the ability to keep your testicles shaking and your heart beating precociously fast at any given moment which is the real strength of this record. This may make the band seem like they are ridiculously heavy, to an extent they are, but it’s their restraint them makes them a success. Tension is built through repetition and atmosphere; there are no metal gimmicks involved. If clear melody is your preference then maybe this record is not for you, there are melodies hear but they will not instantly hit you.
’16 inch revolver’ manages to show off many of the bands positive aspects in less than four minutes. It’s dirty rock but there’s an obscure funk element here which also evident in ‘park my car outside the record store’. Its funk it the loosest sense but it’s definitely there. There’s also a psychedelic element which is oddly entrancing and the vocals being low in the mix really adds to this. This feature also works to full effect in ‘Black out, new hit’, the words ‘you don’t smell fresh, you cut my skin, I aint your friend no more’ are clearly audible but there’s plenty which isn’t, the world he creates is veiled and glimpses are offered into his off-kilter mind without ever fully revealing it. The guitars are used to full effect on this album; they lead the way while the vocals often come in short-sharp bursts, slowly intensifying. The instrumentation sometimes even becomes weirdly exotic and on ‘rapeman’s scalp’ a sporadic acoustic guitar and processed vocals lead into this. Journeyman Mark Lanegan contributes vocals on crawl like a dog, probably the most single-esque track on the whole album. A simple riff is juxtaposed with production trickery and pounding drums, making it instant and hard hitting when compared to the former track showing this band are certainly not one-dimensional.
If you are going to listen to this record, then do it properly! This is definitely not one that will become your favourite record on first listen. Lock yourself in and get your headphones out, if you invest in this record you will get a lot out of it. It’s not the most coherent record of all time but listening to it is thought provoking and blood-curdling at the same time. The fact it is not instantly accessible in fact turns out to be one of its most promising features. Repeated listens reveal darker riffs hidden under layers of noise, the drumming really opens up and the vocals become increasingly eerie becoming ingrained on your membrane. In short, ‘I am the golden gate bridge’ is a fine debut.
Sam Manning