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


 » 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]


 » 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
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
Give People What They Want in Lethal Doses
Jade Tree

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Give People What they Want in Lethal Doses could not have been more aptly named. Featuring members of Milemarker, it takes the scabbed over, ugly wounds occurred by that outfit and scrapes them raw again. Moving further from the discernibly melodic (or at least recognizable) post-rock strains of their past, Challenger is a bloody and excruciating take on straight punk rock.

When they do eventually humor those post-rock leanings (see "Brand Loyalty", "The Trojan Horse"), they admittedly tap into my favorite tracks of the bunch; I've always enjoyed Milemarker and their ability to include angular selections amid the brutal rush. However, Give People What they Want in Lethal Doses makes another, arguably stronger statement; it is relentless from start to finish, with singed vocal chords and hard-fought calluses.

Dave Laney says it best, as he muses over the inspiration of the Minutemen and Hüsker Dü upon those first formative spins. As balladry becomes more popular among punks and poseurs alike, this return to a visceral state seeks to regain some of that fervor. Many of the tracks do sound like a homecoming, from Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat or Flip Your Wig. Aggressive and fiery, every cut is a new point of confrontation, without leaving melody behind.

Give People What they Want in Lethal Doses functions as its own self-contained existential novel, complete with resolution. It cascades into the depths of lost identity, inspired by Dinosaur Jr. with crunch and distracted emotion on "Death Museum". From there, it shouts with the hurt and sore throat evinced from losing one's way, in cries that can't be easily silenced ("Input the Output", "The Angry Engineer"). It is at times strung out by the lack of answers ("Unemployment"), distressed with the restrained ire of a bitten tongue ("This is Only a Test"), and like an unavoidable alarm of human distress ("Sweet Vaccine").

The album's concluding moments, however, show that no constraint or social apathy can bar the truth: the glorious, pent-up rage of "Crushed City" plunges into the distortion-steeped clarity, frenetic beats and conclusive momentum of "The Trojan Horse", making good on what was once lost. Those final two tracks tie up the displaced frustration preceding them, and render Give People What they Want in Lethal Doses immensely cathartic and satisfying. It lets you bottle up all of your disappointment in the current musical climate, then release it in the same motion of rediscovery.

Congratulations are in order for being a beacon, calling us back to shore. They ultimately accomplish everything they'd hoped, creating an album that inspires and excites like those SST forebears, and breathes new life into an occasionally wayward genre.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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