Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Micronotz The Beast that Devoured Itself Fresh Sounds, Inc 1985

Micronotz The Beast that Devoured Itself Fresh Sounds, Inc 1985 CAT# FS-211

Released 3 years after the debut album, The Beast that Devoured Itself, finds the band all grown up.  Well, to the extent they aren't high school students anymore and have probably been laid a more than a couple times.  This album also finds Jay Hauptil replacing vocalist Dean Lubensky.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly created two different versions of the band.  Lubensky had an endearing teenage squall, his strained vocals complimented the youth of the band.  Hauptil comes with a more gruff, adult, punk rock scream.  It beefs the band up substantially, making them comparable to college rock punk like Husker Du.  Hell like Husker Du, the band even attempts some pop tunes, the song "War" is enjoyable and it's followed by "Decide Tomorrow" which is a clear attempt to crack college rock scene in Replacements-esque fashion.  Problem being, Hauptil can't sing like Westerberg and the band can't write as good pop tunes as that band.  And, we won't talk about "Polyester Slave," that song really had no reason to exist.

No fault there though, not many bands could write as a pop tune as good as the Replacements.  And, the Micronotz were far more consistent than the 'Mats (seriously, people gloat about the Replacements like they were fucking geniuses and wrote nothing but hits.  Do they forget songs like "Gary Got a Boner" and the fact that they were a joke of an actual punk band?) .  It is a shame the Micronotz couldn't figure out pop tunes on this one, otherwise it's as classic as their debut.  Overall, they sound like a punk band dying to get into pop territory.  And admittedly, the track "Whatcha Trying To Do" is close to finding a good balance between their punk damaged outlook and pop sensibilities.  It manages to stay mid-tempo and bridge the gap between failed attempts at slowing down and crunchy guitars.

The album does excel when it sticks to the straight ahead riff-driven punk rock.  More so than the band's previous albums, The Beast that Devoured Itself, just wants to break your face with huge riffs.  Screw melody when you got big chunky riffs and straight ahead tunes.  It's far too drenched in garage rock and punk to be an called aural assault or "sonic", but it's not far off.  They would explore the sound further on the following LP, Forty Fingers, sounding more and more like Husker Du.

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