LA's Fireball Ministry have been of the most dependent, if not exactly prolific, acts to come out of the late 90's stoner rock movement. Long a bastion of crunchy Southern guitars and Foghat-friendly hooks, the band eschew melodramatic flights of doom and extended jam sessions, instead preferring straight-ahead rock & roll with a particularly fuzzy bent. On their last LP, the forever-ago eponymous effort from 2010, Fireball Ministry found the band in uncanny valley territory, their fuzz rock unusually subsumed in modern rock hooks.
Faint strains of those modern rock tendencies are still present on this year's belated follow up, Remember the Story, most notably on the choruses to "Everything You Wanted" and the entirety of "Dying to Win", but even there we find a resurgence of the power hooks of yesteryear that characterized the band's early work. Elsewhere, "End of Our Truth", "Back on Earth" and the title track are firmly back in old school Fireball Ministry turf, with other "The Answer" and "Weavers Dawn" kind of splitting the difference: traditional stoner rock production applied to hooks that, given a different production twist, could have been big hits during the height of the post-grunge era.
Remember the Story isn't that flashy of a comeback vehicle, granted, but it does represent a compelling consistency that hasn't always been the hallmark of previous Fireball records. The only real misstep here is the closing track, "I Don't Believe a Word", a largely acoustic track with oddly inserted, out-of-place distorted whole chords on the chorus. Some may find the change of pace an interesting sidebar from a band that it's hardly to be expected from, but most fans will find it jarringly saccharine and ineffective. Shave off that one barnacle, though, and this ship is imminently seaworthy.