by the seatBy The Seat Of Our Pants - Pilots Of Baalbek (Outtaspace)

Next time somebody tells you that rock and roll is dead, know this: They’re either projecting their own sad existence or they’re looking for it in all the wrong places. The best Rock Action almost always exists on the fringes, never attracting mainstream support because most people don’t know what they like, they only like what they know. 

Dig, and you shall find.

So it goes with Pilots of Baallbek, a quartet taking its name from tying the 20th century concept of aviation to an ancient Middle Eastern ruin. It’s a a fitting juxtaposition when you realise they hail from a place like Canberra, where dull Stalinist architecture and endless roundabouts underline the reign of petty officialdom and people in well-manicured, fenceless front-yards endlessly tell you how it’s a great place to raise children.

Pilots of Baalbek worship at the altar of the Oz rock variant of Boogie. Their music is firmly based in the ‘70s, when rock and roll was not yet a commodity in an online shop. 

There’s a hint of space rock in their groove, and the growling vocals of Kaptain Adamski don’t so much implore you to “suck more piss” as “free your mind and your ass will follow”.“Sea Fury” is a strong opener with blustering guitars and an authentic air traffic control monologue. “Cargo Cult” vaguely nods at TMG’s “Jump In My Car” before settling into hard(er) rock territory with some nasty twin guitars.

“Freddy” invokes a slippery bass-line, a little stabbing guitar and a 4-4 feel to morph into a killer driving song. This would be perfect blaring from your car stereo, driving north on the Federal Highway with the national capital at your back, remembering that it’s a great place to raise children. 

Sometimes, you might find yourself urging the Pilots to up the tempos and cut loose – and eventually they do on “Family Knowles”. There are hints of Hawkwind without the self-indulgence in some of the songs (“Integration”), a dash of the Dictators, and lots of Turbonegro in the guitars.  None of those is a bad thing. 

Available on LP from Outtaspace or CD/download from the band