The very first sound you hear on Portland band Great Western Plain’s “Mustache Eye Patch” is not a voice, a drum hit or any sort of musical note. It’s a howling burst of feedback.

Turns out, this is a very appropriate audio calling card for a cacophonous album that revels in the noisiness of what the band itself describes as “dirty, loud and messy garage rock.” A bluesy acoustic guitar passage almost immediately follows that opening feedback squeal, suggesting that perhaps there’s more to this album than noise for the sake of making noise.

If you’re looking for sonic perfection and polished production, look elsewhere. Great Western Plain play garage rock in all its fuzzed-out glory, with a no-frills punkish production that leaves all the rough edges intact — which, of course, is part of the appeal of “Mustache Eye Patch.”

This is not the organ-heavy garage rock of the mid-’60s with catchy hooks and melodies galore. The most obvious point of reference here would be early-’90s indie rock, complete with a casual couldn’t-be-bothered vocal delivery that some listeners will find perfectly complements the swirling din of distortion, while others will be turned off in the way that some folks just can’t get past the singing voice of Bob Dylan.

Buzzing guitars amass into a glorious wall of distortion on tracks such as “Three Four,” a song made for cranking on a tinny car stereo. Distorted bass guitar deepens the mud of “A. Guthrie Tune,” and the crash of cymbals propels uptempo numbers like “Greenwich.” When bits of pretty melody emerge amid the roar, like the acoustic guitar in the album opener “Intricate Textures” or the lonely slide guitar in the closer “Company, Man,” they act as a soothing balm to tired ears.

Throughout the album, bits of musical flotsam bob to the surface amid the crashing waves of fuzz: A bit of ’80s college rock here, some So-Cal hardcore there, even a little traditional blues and country.

If you’re looking for plaintive introspection, Great Western Plain is not for you. If you’re looking for something loud and very rough around the edges, then “Mustache Eye Patch” may be just what the doctor ordered. Stream the album for free at, or purchase and download all nine tracks for $2.95.


Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be reached at [email protected]


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