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Juicehead

The Devil Made Me Do It
Misfits Records


Borrowing elements from Ramones, Green Day and Op Ivy, this hard-edged pop punk sinks in like a hookworm burrowing deeper with every listen. It's deceptively innocuous the first time round, but many subtle touches reward repeated listens. Drummer Zac-D has the snare turned off the entire album, which is initially distracting but the unexpected stutter on "Long Way Down" and "Lazy" finishes Tommy Kloss's bass rhythm like a Siamese twin. Kloss takes fascinating journeys, by the way. Bouncy rumble-seat runs meet up with Rob Vannice's guitar, and then stray down a parallel path where they only see each other through trees and fences.

The massively amusing (or offensive, depending on your sensibilities) revenge fantasy "Covered in Blood" reveals Vannice's clever vocal paths, lyrical choices, and morbid sense of humor. I always picture Sissy Spacek when he sings, "Covered in blood you don't look so pretty/ bitch you're gonna die/ sticking needles in your eyes/ you fucking whore." "Same Old Song" features equally clever lyrics in a different vein, "Piece by piece/ watch the puzzle dissolve/ some of the pieces fit/ but most will never be solved." So dude can turn a phrase and has no problem thinking sideways.

Vannice gets a disturbing guitar tone and a limping monster rhythm on the ska-tinged "Break of Day" that keeps it from falling into Sublime territory. "Never Say Goodbye" is a little more generic two-tone. On "Stray" Kloss pulls out another badass bassline while the vocals skip along with a Saturday morning familiarity. "Shades of Gray" continues the ska motif, but transforms into a genre-crossing epic as impressive as my favorite unknowns Putrid Flowers. Skits like George Bush with a laugh track get skipped over once you've heard them, but the fourteen real tracks are a plentiful debut package.

-Ewan Wadharmi


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