What makes Detroit trio SSM's self-titled debut more compelling than most of the hundreds of garage-rock records that street every year in the U.S. and Europe? That's a bit difficult to pin down. But first we need to advise you that the album is well worth hearing, despite the very tacky cover art. Back to the question at hand: We think SSM, a name comprised of the first initial of each band principal's last name, benefits from the same electrified roots that power acts like Detroit contemporaries The Von Bondies or late-lamented Bethlehem, PA garage-psych unit The Original Sins. Perhaps SSM's greatest strength is in the non-blues-derived flourishes it uses to augment its music. Album opener "Exit Strategy" rides a two-chord Fall riff, analog keys lace much of the proceedings with a touch of space rock and the band delivers foot-stomping power pop anthems with the curiously sequenced album highlight "The Fourth" and "Put Me In." Closer "The Seer" hits a rigid groove in its final minutes that lays the foundation for a guitar melt-down and takes the record out. SSM was released May 23 on Alive, and the band has a dozen or so live dates throughout the midwest begining in the middle of June. MP3s below.
SSM -- "Sick" -- SSM
SSM -- "2012" -- SSM
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[Order SSM directly from Alive here]