No wonder that SSM goes with an abbreviation of its actual name, the tongue twister Szymanski Shettler Morris. Despite the Detroit band's pedigree — including members of the Hentchman, the Sights, and the Cyril Lords — bluesy garage rock is more of a starting point for SSM than a final destination. The album kicks off with the appropriately savage "Exit Strategy" and similarly rockin' "No Looking Back." But by the sixth track (the slow, spacey jam "2012"), the album takes a slight turn into synth territory before closing with the funk-heavy blues of "The Seer." Now, for some purists, mixing garage and electronics is a rock 'n' roll no-no. That's understandable. But SSM's on your side, cats. There's really not that much experimentalism at work here, just enough to coat the surfaces without weighing down the music's soul-powered energy. The only real turd here is the slothful "You're Next," but that's a matter of slack-ass songwriting, not overindulgent engineering shenanigans. This is, after all, a real band, not some studio-bound collaboration. Strip away all the techno gadgetry and there are still fully formed songs that can be played live. And that's what rock 'n' roll's about, right?


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