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JPT SCARE BAND (Sleeping Sickness) CD

JPT SCARE BAND is definitely a well-known name among many aficionados of obscure or unknown heavy rock bands from the 1970's. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, the power trio has developed a heavy sound during the mid-1970's that was dominated by improvisation and long monster jams. They were rooted deeply in blues and psychedelic rock, but their sharp-edged songs tend to sound more metallic than that from other bands during this period. Another thing of note was that JPT SCARE BAND were never interested in releasing a record or 7". Instead, Jeff Littrell (drums), Paul Grigsby (bass, vocals) and Terry Swope (guitar, lead vocals) spent days and nights in the basement and started to record their jammings. It wasn't until 1994 that the first songs have been released by Monster Records. That was the legendary 'Acid Acetate Excursion' LP, followed by a second record in 1998 with the title 'Rape of Titan's Sirens'.

In the meantime, both albums are sought-after collectors items and almost impossible to find. Even then, both LP's were quickly sold out and, based on that, Monster Records released the first JPT SCARE BAND CD in 2000 that featured tracks from the LP's. That was the 'Sleeping Sickness' album but unfortunately, Monster Records imploded and their website simply vanished into thin air due to heavy craziness and the suicide of one of the founding partners. Due to this reason the CD was out of print for the last years until JPT SCARE BAND decided to reissue this compilation on their own label Kung Bomar Records. At the beginning of this review I've mentioned that improvisation was the core of their music, but that does not mean that their songs are completely unstructured or that the musicians lose the plot. That's definitely not the case. They are mostly just longer than your average blues rock song and you should have a preference for excessive and expansive guitar solos. Otherwise it won't be easy to listen to the seven songs with a playing time between five and fifteen minutes.

All tracks have been recorded live without any overdubs and the sound is unbridled and raw, but still crystal clear and differentiated. So it's possible to follow the interactions between Jeff Littrell, Paul Grigsby and Terry Swope. Especially Terry Swope's neck-breaking, remorseless high-flying free-form improvisational guitar attacks are mostly in a class of their own. His playing can be aggressive and unrestrained, but it's always virtuos. Most of the songs are instrumental, but Terry Swope nevertheless has a cool and expressive voice. Jeff Littrell and Paul Grigsby form a very tight rhythm section. They thrill the listener and show an unbelievable joy in performing, though obviously this holds true for the whole band. 'Sleeping Sickness' is a unique document of an unconventional and radical band. If you have never heard before of JPT SCARE BAND than this CD is the perfect start.