There’s nothing quite like a killer Stoner Rock album, with all of the sand, heat, and massive guitar riffs intact. That’s why I was so excited to hear Van Groover’s Honk If Parts Fall Off for the first time.
Although the band members are Stoner Rock rookies, they’ve crafted 10 killer (and genuine) Stoner Rock tracks with all of the best features, including nods to Desert Rock, Psychedelic Rock, and Doom Metal.
And to make the album even more three dimensional, Honk If Parts Fall Off tells the story of a road trip and all of the fascinating characters the band meets along the way (including a roadkill restaurant owner and a monkey they won playing blackjack).
Van Groover delivers all of this with unshakeable humor—think of Red Fang’s music video skits—and that means you’ll sometimes find yourself chuckling just as much as you’re punching your fist into the desert sky. To get a feel for the band’s trademark humor, check out this video about the band teaching an original Doom track to their drummer:
Honk If Parts Fall Off is slated for release on August 14, 2021.
About Van Groover
Van Groover is a trio of musicians hailing from Herborn, Germany. Those members are:
Bastian Helwig – Bass, Vocals
Steven Broschkus – Drums
Jan Arnold – Guitar
The band formed in 2019 and, as you might guess, they’ve been insistent on writing 100% riff-powered tunes ever since.
Honk If Parts Fall Off Review
Track One: Not Guilty
Fitting for a band called Van Groover and an album called Honk If Parts Fall Off, “Not Guilty” roars to life with all the power of a V8 engine ripping over the desert highway. And although “Not Guilty” gives us a good look at the band’s heavy attack, we also get a few doses of the band’s lighter side. This is an exciting and entertaining song, and that makes it a worthy opener.
Track Two: Bison Blues
“Bison Blues” is a strange, psychedelic affair that shows the band relying less on massive Stoner riffs and more on intricate guitar work. Although “Bison Blues” takes a minute or two to reach maximum fury, it eventually climbs to its apex with a wave of fuzz and a dash of Doom-inspired vocals.
Track Three: Streetfood
“Streetfood” is our first clear glance at Van Groover’s sense of humor on the album. Opening with a skit about a man finding a “fresh” dead badger on the road, “Streetfood” is about a restaurant owner who specializes in roadkill dishes. Unrelentlessly heavy, “Streetfood” is one of the most satisfying tracks on the album.
Track Four: Jetstream
A little less aggressive than everything we’ve seen so far, “Jetstream” swings deeper into the ‘70s Rock that so many Stoner bands enjoy. Because of that, “Jetstream” is also a little more dynamic. Although the vocals are a little muddy here, there’s drama in the primary riff, and the guitar solo sounds like it was inspired by Tim Sult of Clutch.
Track Five: Godeater
Not surprisingly, “Godeater” is another heavy track, and its power is emphasized by the growled refrain: “Kill! Eat! Sleep!” Persistent and focused, “Godeater” isn’t necessarily the best song on the album, but it will blow you away with its Doom-inspired power.
Track Six: Roadrunner
One of the album’s two singles, “Roadrunner” initially opens on a quiet bass, gentle guitars, and a clean guitar riff. Eventually, however, that’s all overridden by something much more Stoner-aligned—and that turns it into a genuine banger.
Track Seven: Big Sucka
Slow and groovy, “Big Sucka” is a soft, guitar-focused interlude before the final three tracks. Props to Van Groover on this one: There’s still enough swagger within “Big Sucka” to fit into this album, despite its simplicity.
Track Eight: Bad Monkey
Easily the longest song on Honk If Parts Fall Off, “Bad Monkey” offers a few separate sections to enjoy. After opening heavy with swirling Psychedelic elements, the song settles into a slow interlude—before erupting again into Color Haze-inspired tone and riffs for a few measures. “Bad Monkey” wanders through multiple concepts and influences, and that makes it an exciting track to follow.
Track Nine: Hexxxenhammer
The album’s other single, “Hexxxenhammer” announces itself in the first moments with all the power of a blacksmith wailing on his anvil. One of the heaviest tracks on the album due to its rough, distorted power chords and masculine, growled vocals, “Hexxxenhammer” is another genuine Stoner Rock track that borrows lightly from Doom territory.
Track Ten: Quietness
Written with plenty of fuzz and whispered vocals, “Quietness” initially calls to mind “The Special Theory of Relativity” from Truckfighter’s Fuzzsplit of the Century with Firestone. Interestingly, “Quietness” ends like a classic Stoner Rock song: riding a single riff out until the band disappears over the desert horizon.
Final Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks: “Streetfood,” “Hexxxenhammer,” “Godeater”
Pros: An authentic Stoner Rock debut, Van Groover offers a supreme buffet of heavy riffs, plenty of fuzz, and husky, masculine vocals—all with enough desert wind and grit to comb from your beard after the album’s dramatic conclusion. Fortunately, Van Groover also has enough range to keep everything interesting, incorporating pinches of Doom and Psychedelic Rock to make their songwriting a little more dynamic.
Cons: Like many Stoner bands, the Van Groover trio occasionally struggle with consistency in songwriting and production quality. To that end, they’ve smartly organized the songs to alternate between heavy feasts and slower movements—a decision that keeps the listener on their toes. As songs like “Streetfood” demonstrate, the vocals on Honk If Parts Fall Off are important, but they’re difficult to hear in many sections, which can be frustrating at times. Still, Van Groover’s debut is an exciting experience, and I’m excited to see what else they have in store for the world.