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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » 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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » 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!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Hello Fever
Broken Lines
Sound Virus

Rating: 7/10 ?


August 28, 2006
Hello Fever is definitely wearing a Wire. Whether someone is listening on the other end waiting to bust them for copyright infringement, ala Elastica, is a question for another day. Hard evidence for building such a case, however, is lacking on Broken Lines, the bruising, nervy debut from Hello Fever.

That Broken Lines is hooked up to the post-punk tension of Pink Flag in a Frequency-type scenario is impossible to deny, and Hello Fever would probably break down under interrogation and cop to it if pressed. But making a "Connection" - get it? - like the one clearly established between "Three Girl Rhumba" and Justine Frischmann's post-Seude one-hit wonder isn't so easy. Infectious in its own flat, muddled way, Broken Lines lacks the punch and sexually charged energy of Elastica's self-titled effort, including "Connection," but the ominous tone, balled-up tension and strict, rumbling rhythms are more in keeping with the spirit of Wire's early works. And that counts for something.

So does the domestic violence inherent in the traded male-female vocals of guitarist Samuel Farfsing and percussionist Chy Lin. Cool and understated is the clear-voiced Lin, while Farfsing's mood swings go from controlled rage to unhinged hysteria in a heartbeat. Interacting like Exene Cervenka and John Doe, their exchanges can be unsettling and intense when they're on, like in the urgent-as-a-911-call "7.2.1," but sometimes, that anger and heat just can't raise the shipwrecks of insufferably sluggish Joy Division bowel movements like "Mannequin Eyes" and "Roman Policier." Once those toxins are removed, Broken Lines feels 10 pounds lighter as Farfsing's stringy guitar riffs become more agile and angular, with the awesome distortion showers of "Hot Communication" and the surprisingly melodic "Your History" frying tight bass lines and urgent drums in acid. The scratching, Nick Zinner-like guitar cat fights of "The Last Time" are even more powerful, but what really rips are the stinging, spy-movie riffs of the opening title track.

Broken Lines runs hot and cold, like the water in a squatter's hovel. The album's closer, "Say You Said," has awkward punk breakdowns, as does "In All White," but a strong, persistent melody and more of Farfsing's dynamic guitar geometry get the train back on the tracks. "Variety" is a little too restrained, but the echoing atmospherics and primal drums are hypnotic, and there's a lyrical vulnerability that comes across as startlingly true and honest. Such contradictions and inconsistencies are maddening; then again, punk is never perfect. It wouldn't be called "punk" if it was. Hello Fever, which is said to be writing new material with LostAtSea.net's own Jonah Flicker, has a great mix of mean guitar lines and sinewy, primitive rhythms, all pressed together in a compact package that's as explosive as nitro. It wouldn't get past airport security.

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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