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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
Waiting for the Next End of the World

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

September 11, 2006
Given Burning Airlines' timely materialization following the demise of Jawbox in the late 90s, J. Robbins was never going to sit still for long. Granted, Burning Airlines' break-up may have allowed him more time to invest in his burgeoning production career, but with riffs as explosive as those evident on Waiting for the Next End of the World, it seems another creative outlet in front of the amp rather than behind the boards beckoned.

Channels, rounded out by Robbins' wife Janet Morgan on bass and ex-Kerosene 454 and Oswego drummer Darren Zentek, showcases a collective résumé soaked in DC scene pedigree. As DC cemented its name in the post-punk encyclopedia, the musical world was graced by pounding episodes of melodic rock churned out one after another by the trio, albeit in separate outfits. With the news of Channels' inception, their path prepped by 2004's solid Open EP, it seemed almost inconceivable that such consistency wouldn't be sustained.

Robbins is one of a few musicians whose riff-smithery and voice are equally distinctive, and in the pitch-shifted intro to "To the New Mandarins," Robbins' prominence is immediately recognizable. "Lucky Lamb" keeps things upbeat with some sprightly husband/wife vocal harmonies, whilst "Hug the Floor" sees the rock-out subside in favour of a brisk waltz. There's no denying the similarity of Channels' modus operandi to that of Burning Airlines, but Morgan and Zentek's input is much more than passive - Morgan's vocal contributions make "The Licensee" and "Lucky Lamb," whilst Zentek's skin-pummelling and Robbins' trademark snare-crack is a marriage made in heaven.

While Channels' arrival may not have created the same stir that the arrival of Burning Airlines did, Waiting for the Next End of the World is as solid a record as it could have been. After all, Robbins and company were never going to jump ship and compete for any new aspiring limelight. It's refreshing to witness a trio of individuals who, while their sound may have evolved along with their capabilities, convey the same attitudes and influences that inspired them all those years ago. Another thumbs up.

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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