"Fly By Night" (Locomotive; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

There are three words that you probably never thought you'd hear uttered in a single sentence. And those words are "Sex Museum Rocks!" 

Unless, of course, you're familiar with this band.

Yes, that band with the curious moniker is back and they continue to do what they do best - rock your socks off. "Fly By Night" is a two-disc set, crammed full of Sex Museum originals and dynamite covers that will hold any hard rock fans attention but will leave fans of 70s-era rock a la Deep Purple and Black Sabbath simply enthralled.

Many of the band's hits are here, including "Flyin' High" and "Two Sisters." The songs presented here, like most of Sex Museum's music, are straight-forward, classic rock with a somewhat rougher edge. There isn't a song on the CD that you would be surprised to hear on FM radio, assuming, of course, that FM radio ever played something that wasn't at some point in the Top 40. 

The cover songs are played very close to the original recordings, the best of which is AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" during which the band displays more energy than on their own material and even more so than on their cover of Deep Purple's fiery "Speed King." The disc ends with Sex Museum's version of The Who's "I'm Free," again, another dead-on cover.

Throughout, the band is tight and clean. Except for the crowd noise, you'd swear this was a studio CD.

If there's one complaint about "Fly By Night" it's that it easily could have been put on one CD instead of two. The total running time of both discs is just over 83 minutes and it would have been easy to dump a single track in favor of releasing a single disc. But, hey, that's just me.

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"Fly By Night" (Locomotive; 2004)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

A few things came to mind when this curious disc with the incense and peppermint psychedelic cover came across my desk. One, the Latin hard rock unit known as Sex Museum has been around longer than I knew; 1986 to be exact. Second, I had the lascivious urge to book a trip up to the Big Apple immediately to visit the pornography palace bearing the same raunchy name. Finally, the fact that my favorite song of all-time, "Whole Lotta Rosie," blinked like a beacon in the middle of a fog bank on the track listing of this double live album entitled "Fly By Night."

Rush they may not be, but Sex Museum are rockers' rockers, belting out everything from Deep Purple-inspired acid rock to prefab punk to sleazy New York Dolls cock rock to flat nosed Who covers. As a former Dictators and Deep Purple tribute band, this should come as no surprise.

The snazzy drum solo that greets the audience sets up Sex Museum's cover of The Dictators' "Minnesota Strip" and from there, they almost never lose stride, belting out high energy tunes like the Deep Purple highway starriness of "Two Sisters" "Last Last," "Red Ones" and of course, a cover of Purple's "Speed King." Then there's the alcohol-transfused "Where I Belong" and "Collectors," or the skate rat flair of "Start to Move" and "Get Lost" that had me peering up at the punk rock heavens and wishing Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee luck on their three chord harp jam. 

"We Can Move" amps it up as a pogo inducer and administers acid washes in spots, particularly on the Sonic Youth-like solo. "Street Fight" rips their spectators a grungy new asshole while reflecting some old-fashioned Deep Purple/Neil Young schools of thought before kicking down the doors on "Flyin' High." It's evident that Sex Museum are apt pupils of not only hard rock but good hard rock. 

By the time Sex Museum covers "Whole Lotta Rosie," an air of surrealness strikes the ears. Admittedly, I'm very closed-minded when it comes to this song, which in my opinion, features the mightiest riff ever laid down in hard rock. I even begrudge Brian Johnson's interpretation, despite his long tenure in the band that recorded it, AC/DC. To hear anyone but Bon Scott singing it has me automatically reaching for the track skip button. That being said, I nonetheless gave Sex Museum a chance, and while I admire their tenacity to recognize the strength of this song, their cover rings like they got in over their heads with excitement. To cut them slack, it is a live rendition, and it's done in good spirit. To be even fairer, Sex Museum does sufficient justice on their cover of The Who's "I'm Free."

The acidic guitars of Fernando Pardo, the laid back bass of Pablo Rodas and groovy keys by Marta Ruiz supplement vocalist Miguel Pardo like he's a rico suave rock god. Pardo often tries out his best Ian Gillian, which is subliminal if you put yourself in the moment. Given the bouncy sound of "Fly By Night," Sex Museum must be a hell of a live act to produce such a bombastic, tireless presentation.

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"Speedkings" (Locomotive; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Sex Museum is back (I just can't get over that silly name!) with another solid recording. Much like the previous CD, this one is heavy with stoner fuzz guitars and steady Deep Purple-ish choruses. And, in tribute to the great Deep Purple, Sex Museum even serve up a cover version of "Speed King."

Each song is loaded with hard rock guitar, funky keyboards and plenty of atmosphere. Fans of early 70s hard rock will absolutely love Sex Museum. Fans of bands like Clutch and Fu Manchu will also find something to like here.

The only difference between "Speedkings" and "Sonic" is that the new CD doesn't seem to have the charisma of the last one. While the songs on "Speedkings" are all solid rockers, they play more like a cross between 60s psychedelia and stoner rock than the tunes on "Sonic" did. They're a little slower, for the most part, and heavier on the fuzzy atmosphere.

That's a minor complaint, however, if it's even that. It's more of an observation. The bottom line is that Sex Museum continue to pump out pure rock'n'roll of the sort not many bands do these days. And they do it with near perfection.

SEX MUSEUM: Fernando Pardo - guitar and vocals; Miguel Pardo - vocal; Marta Ruiz - Hammonds and sequencer; Pablo Rodas - bass; Roberto Loza - drum.

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"Sonic" (Locomotive; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

All right, I'll admit it. When I first got this CD, I didn't expect much from it. I mean, the band's name is Sex Museum - what the hell kind of a band is that?

But, after listening to this CD more than a few times, I can only say that the old adage "you can't judge a book by its cover" has never been more true.

I guess if you had to categorize Sex Museum, you'd call them stoner rock. "Sonic" is loaded with solid, fuzzy, chunky guitars and blistering lead riffs. These are backed with stunningly solid keyboards (which remind me more than a little of Deep Purple's Jon Lord), lyrics and vocals that are catchy without being obvious hooks and drums that keep everything moving forward while keeping everything together at the same time.

"Sonic" is one of those CDs with no bad tracks, but the highlights have to be "Flyin' High," with its groovy Soundgarden riff, the very Deep Purple-esque "Can't Stick Around," "Night Monster" which uses a spy movie type riff as its base and "Pills" which plays like a hard rock head trip.

Perhaps the best praise I can give Sex Museum is that this is their 8th CD and now I want to go back and hear them all!

Sex Museum is: Miguel Pardo - lead vocals; Fernando Pardo - guitar and fuzz; Marta Ruiz - keyboards, Hammond, piano, Groove Box 505, 303; Pablo Rodas - bass.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:19 -0400.