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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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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
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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
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Fat Possum
Blood Brothers
Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 17, 2006
With their last album, Crimes, Blood Brothers crawled out on the ledge, closed their eyes and jumped. To almost no one's surprise, they landed on their feet and walked away unharmed, having delivered their creepiest, most unusual and diverse record to date, sort of a Red Medicine for the new millennium. Or, maybe, just maybe, their Red Medicine is yet to come.

In April, the Seattle post-hardcore harlequins returned to the studio with Fugazi's Guy Picciotto for the follow-up to Crimes, due out in the fall. A calculated risk, Crimes was a strange, wonderfully odd experimental plot twist for a band of screamo thrill-seekers bored with the status quo. On Burn Piano Island Burn!, careening guitars, acrobatic rhythms and screaming dual vocals rained a never-ending monsoon of sound upon Hot Topic villagers. Every song was a derailed train that ended in a crash of banshee vocals, snarled guitars and furious rhythms.

Expelling less energy, but more venom, Crimes lulled you into quiet spaces and then leapt out at you with Clockwork Orange menace and sonic violence. It held lean, serrated guitars to your throat as horror-movie organ played in the background. It was less reckless and more measured than past Blood Brothers' efforts, but even while sucking all the marrow out of Mars Volta's prog-rock bones, they managed to stay edgy, mean and nervous. A black cabaret of discomforting imagery and threatening undertones, Crimes set the stage for something even stranger and more compelling. And that's where Picciotto comes in.

Promising before god and all Alternative Press readers that they plan " to draw up a new blueprint" for aggressive, highly agitated rock, the Blood Brothers seem poised to pull off something big. While we wait for the manna to drop from heaven, V2 revisits Blood Brothers' Crimes spree with the Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck EP. The title track comes from Crimes, and it's a watershed moment in post-hardcore history. Unsettlingly melodic, the slightly off-kilter "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck" sends out a distress call with Morse code guitar, angled grooves and high-pitched vocal hysteria squealing, "Love, love, love" to no one in particular. It's vicious and unnerving, but as compelling as a fresh accident scene - the perfect backdrop for Blood Brothers' trauma-obsessed lyrics, twisted vocal ivy and enigmatic socio-political commentary.

Outtakes from the Crimes' sessions include "Ladies And Gentlemen," with its twinkling guitars, sudden tempo changes and dizzying De-Loused In The Crematorium-style breakdowns, and the shuffling, body-bag-being-dragged-across-the-floor pace of the sinister beauty "Metronomes." Giving more credence to the Mars Volta comparisons is the remixed version of Crimes' "Peacock Skeleton With Crooked Feathers." Another prog-induced fury that weakens when it's supposed to grow in intensity and feels unfinished, its center throbs with insistent electric keyboards and guest vocals from A Gun Called Tension's Sean Reveron leave scratch marks on the door. Despite its flawed construction, its still hits hard.

Closing with a scorching live version of "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck," recorded at the 2005 Reading Festival, and a simmering, sinewy cover of Gang Of Four's "Anthrax," this EP signals a sea change for Blood Brothers. Along with the heavy prog influence already mentioned, the arrangements are more open and loose. And yet there are moments when Blood Brothers pull the choke collar tight. As always, there are surprises, most notably the dreamy mandolin in "Metronomes" and the enhanced CD includes the video for the EP's title track.

Great as a companion piece to Crimes or a stand-alone document of a band in transition, the Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck EP is another step in the right direction for Blood Brothers. Full of crash scenes, "butchery," "soldiers with burning faces" and panicky businessmen, it's a buffet of human cruelty and folly. Eat up, everyone.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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