Timmy’s Organism are the kind of band I want to party with. They ooze glorious, sweaty sleaze and it’s not hard to picture them hanging from the rafters while beer cans careen through the air. It should come as no surprise that Timmy’s Organism hail from Detroit, as their music embodies the bygone romanticism of a town that gave birth to the likes of Iggy Pop and MC5. This is rock and roll with a serrated edge blasting from a bombed out building. What should also come as no surprise is that the band’s new album, aptly titled Heartless Heathen, comes courtesy of Third Man Records, the label started by another of Detroit’s looming rock and roll figures, Jack White.
Led by Tim Lampinen aka Timmy Vulgar aka “Detroit’s favorite son”, Timmy’s Organism lay out ten machismo-loaded tracks with titles like “Mental Boy”, “Wicked Man”, and “Back In The Dungeon”. At times they go heavy and raw, like on the album’s title track, which conjures thick riffing and stoner rock gloom, whereas on “Please Don’t Be Going” we catch a softer side of Mr. Vulgar as he apologizes to a lover who left him and confesses to missing kisses and smiles. This song is a rare moment of tenderness that finds these fiends venturing into glammy, Bowie-esque territory. But, like I said, it is a rare moment, and we are soon thrust back into a world where rock and roll reigns supreme and fucks are given by no one. “Mental Boy” grooves slowly with sludgy riffs before the depraved, psychedelic guitar solo of “Wicked Man” doses hard. These are songs made for pumping fists and chugging cheap liquor while tripping on acid.
As if it were midway through a set and everyone is now drunk and loosened up, things take a more inebriated turn on “Weather Woman”, a cranked up tune that sucks you in with its clap-a-long beat, far out shredding, and boogie-woogie piano. And Tim Vulgar is right there to get the boys and girls chanting along. One of the album’s standouts follows; “My Angel Above” starts with flower child bongos and soft vocals before spiraling out of control into the sweet oblivion of Vulgar’s shouted confessions and soaring guitar solos. One of the most touching and simultaneously catchy songs on the album is “Hey Eddie”, a tribute to a lost musician friend that barrels forward with Thin Lizzy-esque bravado.
By the time Timmy’s Organism close with the meaty 70s blues-rock of “Wounded White Dove”, it feels like we’ve been subjected to a wall of noise that hits with the brutal power of a 2X4 to the skull. When he’s not tearing up stages across the country, Tim Vulgar paints and draws. This is a man hellbent on keeping self-expression and art in its purist, rawest form. Heartless Heathen stands in direct contrast to much of the stuff they call rock and roll today for that exact reason. It’s rough and hard-hitting, making an immediate impact on the listener. You don’t need to think about why it’s “cool” or the deeper meaning of songs, but rather just get engulfed in fuzz and distortion. This is revved up shit and only further proof that Timmy’s Organism should make Motor City proud.