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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Pass the Flask
Fiddler Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
This is a hardcore record through and through, and it's a tricky style to innovate in; but there are some nice little details within Pass the Flask that take small steps beyond the norm. The little cymbal licks in the opener, "Red Wedding," take an otherwise straightforward song and give it an extra dimension. The rolling guitar riffs on "You Know Who's Seatbelt" are simply killer. And the band knows how to use the slow bits nicely as well.

The highlight of the album is "Get Up You Son of a Bitch Cause Mickey Loves You," in which a guitar mimics an ambulance siren and singer James Munoz thunders "Forget the fuck away from me." The same line, incidentally, was what Chicago art-rock maven Tim Kinsella said he would have named the Promise Ring song "A Picture Postcard" when he covered it for the Post Marked Stamps series in the late 1990s. Coincidence?

It sounds as if Munoz attended the Cedric Bixler school of songwriting; lines like "There's a flood in the infirmary where we'll swim through broken glass/ Our prosthetic limbs will keep us afloat" could come straight off of a Mars Volta or At the Drive-In record.

Pass the Flask is a very adept hardcore record. That's not the same as a very good hardcore record, but it's a place to start. And if the critical praise for bands like the Blood Brothers is any indication, 2003 might be a year for hardcore to reassert itself after several years of recession. The members of The Bled offer up some nice moments here, and if they can loosen up and develop these unexpected touches, they could make their sophomore album something really worth hearing. As it stands, for a band named The Bled, they don't let enough out.

Reviewed by Erick Bieritz
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.

See other reviews by Erick Bieritz



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