KEPI GHOULIE: I Bleed Rock’n’Roll: CD

If there is a true believer in the power of rock’n’roll, it is Kepi. He is like a punk John the Baptist, proselytizing for the likes of Lemmy, Johnny Thunders, Chuck Berry, and Joey Ramone. Having seen him live—both with the Groovie Ghoulies and in various solo incarnations—his shows can almost start to feel like some kind of punk rock revival. Things start on his newest with “Rock’n’Roll Shark” the album’s pounding, minimalist, mission statement. It is the pop punk “New Day Rising.” Since Kepi’s Ghoulies days, he has stretched his wings ever so slightly musically and started incorporating things like acoustics and actual guitar leads. The song “I Bleed Rock’n’Roll” probably has more non-rhythm guitar work than any two Ghoulies albums put together. For the most part, though, he still keeps things pretty simple. Most of the songs follow a speeded-up Chuck Berry template, and lyrically deal with two things: love and rock’n’roll. My personal pick is the sort of interlude in the middle of the album, where things slow down for the thirty second acoustic “Unfigureoutable” and extremely direct but endearing “I Just Wanted You to Know.” My theory with Kepi is that he is like Social Distortion: despite adhering to a certain sound, he really has noticeably changed overtime, even if a fan’s favorite album will probably always be the first one they picked up (in my case, Fun in the Dark). Kepi has never released an album I’ve disliked and this is no exception, especially if it gives him a reason to tour with a full band in the near future. Just like the song “Rock’n’Roll Shark” says, “I gotta keep movin’, I gotta keep swimmin’, I gotta keep winnin’.”

 –Adrian Salas (Asian Man)