Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Obits – I Blame You

Blistering, tuneful, often ridiculously catchy dark psychedelic garage rock from Brooklyn. Obits never met a good riff they didn’t want to steal – and they really know their rock history – yet their sound is totally original. Some of the stuff here reminds of the pounding neo-garage vibe of the British band Clinic; other songs have an eerie gleam evocative of Mark Sultan. The reverb on the guitars is always turned up, the energy is pretty much through the roof, and the melodies are refreshingly counterintuitive – it’s not just the same old 1-4-5 riff over and over. Their album I Blame You came out in March on Sub Pop; they also have an ep and singles out (also available as mp3s).

The opening cut, with its long Lucifer Sam intro, is Widow of My Dreams, a gritty LES style noir garage song that sets the tone with an insistent, echoey feel and an outro that nicks a classic Keith Levene hook. With its scratchy guitar and slinky bass riff, Pine On offers shades of the MC5 complete with some nice pounding Dennis Thompson-esque drums and a Twilight zone riff. Fake Kinkade evokes mid 80s Sonic Youth stomping through an early Alice Cooper demo, but better.  One of the catchier numbers here, Two-Headed Coin works a 60s bass riff and more reverb guitar for a pretty noir feel.

Catchy downstroke guitar gives Run a sound like Interpol doing the retro thing. The title track is a little instrumental, kind of Booker T on acid, with reverb guitars and a neat funky shuffle beat. The next cut, Talking to the Dog is a stomping Velvets pop song gone completely unhinged. Track eight, Light Sweet Crude is tense and suspenseful with screechy jazz chords and a long build with a sweet payoff. The most Stoogoid track here is Lilies in the Street, with its real cool 4-chord turnaround on the chorus and a big long guitar buildup that fades down gracefully into feedback at the end. Frontman Rick Froberg  rails that he’s “tired of playing Pollyanna, tired of being a ghost” on the angry, minor-key SUD. The next cut, Milk Cow Blues is classic 60s psych in the 13th Floor Elevators vein with a sweet macabre edge. The cd ends with Back and Forth, a Pretty Things-style, early 60s R&B tune.

Their earlier stuff alternates between an early 90s LES feel like the Chrome Cranks, more jaggedly riff-oriented and strung out, and an inoffensively generic post-Sonic Youth indie sound. It’s very auspicious to see to see how much the band has grown since then. If this new album is any indication they should be killer live. Obits play South St. Seaport on one of the year’s best doublebills, opening for the recently reunited and reinvigorated Polvo on 7/31 at 7 PM.

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July 26, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment