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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Return to Me
Silverthree Sound Recordings

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There's no doubting the role played by fashion and style in contemporary music, even in the so-called 'DIY' scene. Kids want a finished product, and that means haircuts as well as riffs. A flick through a publication such as NME highlights the emphasis placed on band aesthetics; an aspect that is increasingly filtering through into some of the more 'cutting-edge' bands of today, perhaps dulling it. The presence of bands like Retisonic is refreshing to say the least. Return to Me cuts to the chase, speaking for itself, and without a gimmick in sight.

Retisonic is such an apt name, although I have no idea what it actually means, aside from being taken from an early Bluetip song. Even Dictionary.com cannot offer a definition, but it's clear that what we have here is eleven stark "Retisonic" blasts of unzipped rawk. When Jason Farrell is concerned, laying eyes on the cover graphics is reassurance enough that what will follow will tear you apart in a riff-led hurricane. Fannying about is kept to a bare minimum, allowing for some of the most complete and consistent balls-out post-punk you'll hear this year.

Anyone who heard Retisonic's debut EP Lean Beat, or the late Bluetip for that matter, will have a clear idea of where Return to Me is coming from. Essentially, Return to Me is not too far removed from Bluetip's final offering, Polymer. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Farrell is as focused as ever, laying emphasis on explosive yet subtly catchy riffs that cut a path for his explicitly confrontational vocals. Retisonic maintain all that is raw and abrasive about punk, but build on it with impulsive stop-start rhythms and an element of unpredictability.

Opening track "Give Up" sets the pace with a slicing rhythm converging into one of Farrell's trademark power chord-driven verses. As ever, the vocals provide a perfect focal point, with the impeccable construction of riffs and hooks acting as more than adequate foundation. "K-16" sees Retisonic demonstrate an off-kilter side to their personality that twists with a quirky swagger, before interlocking into a vocally harmonized chorus - a definite potential 'hit'. The final track "Why Don't You Write" sees the pace slowed a touch with a more reflective perspective, the angular approach to songwriting however maintained.

The only possible downfall would be that Return to Me doesn't push many more boundaries than Polymer or Lean Beat did. The quality on offer is top notch, if perhaps a tad set in its own ways. Having said this, for avid fans like me this is no problem. Return to Me is everything I expected it would be, and more to boot with a style embedded in songs rather than in any superficial image. Retisonic demonstrate a sound that is both aggressive and sophisticated, and for those yet to take note, its time to do so.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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