Bringing a whole new meaning to rock and roll, the Bifters enter the music scene in a smoked-out party bus with their debut album, “Reefer Madness”.￼
The year is 1936, members of a religious pressure group have deemed it prudent to warn parents across the United States about an encroaching, corrupting substance that is poised to ruin the lives of their children. A wild Mexican tobacco, marijuana, has made its way into suburbia. To curtail the spread of the devil’s lettuce the group utilizes the most modern technology, the motion picture, to serve as a warning to the youth of America. The Movie, Reefer Madness, was shown nationwide to dissuade impressionable youngsters from smoking the plant. The propaganda flick was the start of a campaign to demonize cannabis use. As the film became a classic amongst weed enthusiasts the overarching theme of stigmatising its use was successful. Nevertheless, the fight for cannabis culture to be accepted has raged on over the decades.
Watch the official music video for ‘Mary Jane’ by The Bifters:
Flash forward 85 years and 9000 miles to Australia where self-proclaimed rock lords, The Bifters, have recently entered the fray. Their debut album, “Reefer Madness”, attempts to cause its own form of hysteria across the globe. They bring with them a larger than life 8 track LP that satirises the war on weed for our listening pleasure. They remind us that despite its legal status it has impacted popular culture through art, film, and music. The album opens with the jangly, up tempo headbanger “BWS”. It’s a great introduction into the bands humour, style, and infectious energy. No ganja inspired album would be complete without a shoutout to Mary Jane and the eponymous second track does exactly that. A bluesy groove that pays homage to legends Cheech and Chong with the lyrics “leave me with my dreams all up in smoke”. For lovers of stoner movies there are plenty of easter eggs dotted throughout the album. Sound clips from films are used at the beginning or end each track which adds an entertaining element as you try and guess which scenes they are from.
The third song “Queen of Machine” could almost be found on an album from some other monarchs from the Stone Age. It’s a heavier song, with fierce riffs and strong vocals. The metal theme continues as we hit the “Reverend”. The Black Sabbath inspired track is where The Bifters really hit their stride. There’s a theatrical element to the song and vocal style which is aided greatly by thumping drums and the dark edge of the electric guitar. You can almost imagine this song being performed on some satanic pulpit calling forth lovers of Rock music. Imagine ACDC’s “For those about to rock (we salute you) but with a spliff and you’ll get the idea. The album settles down once again with the real delta blues crooning on “Mr Bifter”. It’s a fun take on the classic chord progression and does well to highlight the comic book nature of the album. Each song has a life and mood of its own but still breathes well together.
There are punk elements to the next track “Lords of the Green”. There’s a talking, storytelling style to the lyrical output mixed with thumping bass drums and whining guitar solos. It’s not as angry a punk song though as this band creates good vibes only. The energy that The Bifters can send through your speakers is epitomised in “Sugar Mama” which is a joyful ode to love, and a funky tune best played at top volume. The album ends on a raucous note, with an alternative song with indie style riffs and a tempo that slows and quickens which keeps you on your toes. “Bifterlord” is a great way to end the album. It reminds us of the musical talents of the band and their fun-loving nature. Whether you are a fan of cannabis culture or not this album is still worth checking out. At the end of the day the war on marijuana use is a war against personal choice and responsibility. What the Bifters have chosen to do with their time is recreate Reefer Madness in a positive way by encouraging listeners to revel in life and enjoy themselves. They have an anti-authority attitude but portray their views with humour, love and rock and roll.
For more info check out the The Bifters on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube,. And, if you enjoyed this, feature check out more reviews and interviews from IAMUR… You might just find your new favourite artist!