album review: dangerous idiots
by Adam Williams | We Were Promised So Much… | November 1, 2021
Artist: Dangerous Idiots
Title: Mentor or Tormentor
Record Label: Legitimate Businessman Records
Release Date: 5th November 2021
Just over ten years ago WWPSM reviewed the self-titled debut album by Little Rock, Arkansas outfit Dangerous Idiots; a rabblerousing romp through rambunctious rock ‘n’ roll you might call it. Skip forward a decade and the outfit are gearing up to release their sophomore offering ‘Mentor or Tormentor’. You’re probably thinking what have the band been doing over the last 120 months? Well, we’re glad you asked; between 2011 and 2016 they hit the road for an extensive tour across the US, in the wake of their primary offering being released and from 2016 to fairly recently the group’s chief protagonist, Aaron Sarlo took time out of music to start a family. With Sarlo’s son a little bit older and with more free time than the last five years have been able to provide (also in part a by-product of Covid-19 lockdowns), this has generated an abundance of new Dangerous Idiots material, with ‘Mentor or Tormentor’ the first out the gate (spoiler alert: there’s more new stuff in the pipeline).
Across 8 tracks and around 20 minutes in run time, Sarlo and co’s new record is lean, straight to the point and bereft of any flab. ‘Thick’ kicks off the LP, with a gauzy riff and a drum lick that’s buoyed by an infectious shimmy ‘n’ shake. Add in Sarlo’s impassioned vocals and one thing is for sure, the band are clearly making up for lost time. The band’s mouthpiece bellows “you better open your heart/you better open your mind”, like a man calling for some kind of spiritual harmony and by god, doesn’t the human race need some of that right now? Subsequent tracks traverse a myriad of rock ‘n’ roll’s outposts, from the Pixies-esque grunge of ‘Don’t Ask Me’, the punky rattle of ‘RZH2’ and the sumptuous grooves found via ‘Rock n Roll Tonight’ and ‘Amerijuana Forever’ dedicated to Sarlo’s love of the, let’s say more herbal things in life, which creeps into desert rock’s craggy territory. Suffice to say, in no time at all, the group pack in a wide range of influences, textures and colours.
As well as carrying a muscular wallop, there’s a playfulness to ‘Mentor or Tormentor’; whether it’s ‘Frock Cop’: the elongated, jammed outro found at the record’s end that sounds like the band are having great fun, or well, there’s a song called ‘Cat Vomit’…!
With ‘Mentor or Tormentor’ being just the start of Dangerous Idiot’s resurgence in 2021 – you’d better believe this isn’t the last thing you’ll hear from Sarlo and the gang.