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Touch My Rash
Doomed From The Start
Bittersick Records
www.touchmyrash.com


The endearing attraction to a musician's first band is part music nerdology, that urges us to cite the band Rick James and Neil Young shared, and partly the pride of being on board from the beginning of a great thing. It's exciting when you know you're listening to musicians who learned to play specifically for this project. It's great to hear that fresh energy that hasn't yet learned all the rules it's breaking; to find that defiant innocence still uncorrupted by the industry.

Doomed From The Start presents a half hour of first-time thrills, nervous tension, a hunger for satisfaction and little time for niceties. Any awkward fumbling is forgiven under the heavy breathing, driving energy and scads of shouting. Guitarist/frontman Colin Kutch sounds at times like Putrid Flowers' John Buglione; that youthful gritty howl that doesn't stop for breakage and has regard for key only as a passing acquaintance. He addresses it as needed, but if he's in a rush out the door there's a refreshing lack of obligation. The guitars have more crunch than Kellogs, with plenty of sonic treats left in. Olga Safronova provides a moveable beat and backup vocals.

These Bay Areans share an urgency of earlier punks, "Some Things Never Change" pushes like a low-slung Naked Raygun anthem, while "Misery" snags a riff from The Jam. But the anger and angst feel genuine. An overblown sense of self colors "Give Me Everything" with a sweet arena rock chorus. Songs like "Single By Choice" and "Sexless Existence" explore opposite sides of a dilemma with equal vitriol (critic word.) An underlying sense of humor emerges in "Wasting Life," "Sometimes I wish I were braindead/I'd be happy all the time/ I'd be working all day without without thinking/ wasting my whole life." No salve, no balm. It's back to young, loud and snotty. Yeah, I remember this!

-Ewan Wadharmi


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