Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blood on the Wall - Awsomer

Blood on the Wall - Awsomer (4.5/5)

Blood on the Wall is a trio that plays like The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Minutemen, and a touch of My Bloody Valentine. Basically, they're all of your favorite alternative bands from the eighties and early nineties all mixed up into one complete, but surprisingly unique, package. Awsomer, which is their second album (get it?), tears through fourteen songs in little over a half-hour. There's not an ounce of fat on this set. It's kind of like that guy that shows up to your party with a purpose. He makes a b-line straight to the refrigerator, downs your best beer, takes a few shots, trashes some furniture, and is gone. You'll never see him again.

I'm a sucker for bands with two singers, and maybe that's why I've fallen so hard for this album. Courtney Shanks has a rhaspy voice in the vein of Kim Gordon that'll make you think of black lights and musty smelling smoke. Ben Shanks, on the other hand, has a perfect mania in his voice, and makes the songs sound as if they could disintegrate into cacophony any second. I imagine some wild eyed berserker with veins popping out of his face.

There's at least one song under a minute, and at least five others that are under two. It's enough to give you wiplash. These terse little snippets are addictive, and like your favorite crack dealer you'll be coming back again and again. I think the real secret to writing a short album is make it so addictive you can't help but listen to it twice in a row.

There are also a few "pretty" songs. "I'd Like to Take You Out Tonight" is the longest song at three minutes and thirty-seven seconds. It recalls Jesus and Mary Chain, and is a perfect little eye in the storm. The closer naturally slows things down as well, and even features a -gasp- piano.

Blood on the Wall are smart enough not to beat you until you're numb, and even some of the harder songs have a more deliberate marching tempo. My current favorite song of the album is "Mary Susan." It features a perfect sing-along chorus backed by a great turning bass line. I've already decided this will be the perfect drinking song for when I become an alcoholic.

I'd write some more, but I've already held you up too long when you should really be buying this album.

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