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Pushing Guitars To Their Limits

(Mute/Blast First)

When I heard the first 10-inch by this group awhile back, I thought it was some pretty excellent stuff. Over the course of about 20 minutes on two sides of a record, the trio creeped me out with nothing more than guitars, bass, and drums (and probably a buttload of effects pedals). If you've heard Man Or Astroman, it might help if I explained this group as sort of a devious, psycho bastard offshoot from them. Instead of playing hopped-up surf rock, they play long, droning pieces that test both the limits of their instruments (and probably the limits of most listeners). Kind of similar to MOAM, they're into the chemical equation / mad scientist part of naming both songs and themselves.

The album starts out with the 15-minute long "Quiet Room (44)" and really continues with the same sort of song structure from there out. It goes through several incarnations of fairly monotinous drum and bass combinations with creepy, twinkling guitars layed down over the top of it all. It turns into a fairly pounding track at one point, but again calms down toward the end. "Vagus Nerve" is the track that probably contains the most energy as it rises to a breaking point several times in the song and really is nothing more than a 10 minute build. The rest of the tracks on the album follow this same sort of formula to some degree or another and the group kind of falls into the snare (again, like MOAM) of simply starting to sound the same over the course of the 65 minute album. While not all of the songs sound alike, their tempo and basic structures are simply kind of limited by the style of music that the group performs. It's great music to listen to when you're in the mood for creepy tweaked-out instrumental stuff, but it unfortunately falls prey to it's own formula at several points. Once again, the group has managed to put together excellent packaging to fit the mood.

Rating: 5