Although it's getting close to the tipping point for bands
who've decided to bring their dog-eared Gang of Four
albums out of retirement and into the recording studio, in my
estimation there's still plenty of room on the dance floor for
rock and roll.
The Washdown add much to the now familiar twitchy '80s
rock sound taking Hot Hot Heat and adding a lot more
of punk's broken teeth abrasiveness, adroitly balancing the
songs on a jackknife edge that constantly threatens to unravel
into straight up mayhem. In terms of artistic stretches and
variety, The Washdown aren't exactly conquering virgin territory.
Many of the tracks smash into one another in tone, rhythm and
length, so much so that several times I had to make sure which
song was playing only to be surprised that another track had
already begun. When they do nail it, though, the results can
be like a lit M-80 of raucous riot, such as the pedal to the
metal of "Confusion. . . . (Confusion?)" where the
drums and bass both sound reckless and throttling, like The
Moving Units with a fire under their asses. "Ladies
and Gentlemen" kicks in like a swat team, with blurry-eyed
and crackling guitar licks over vocals that snake like a drunken
tongue down your throat. The Washdown have a filthy swagger
about them as if they just stumbled wasted out of the bathroom
with their pants around their ankles, but still have enough
nerve to ask you to buy them a drink.
Yes to Everything proceeds at a pace that's crazed and
jerking, like a criminal hepped up on PCP on Cops trying
to frenetically wrangle out of a straight jacket. That running
down the stairs momentum, the machine gun drumming and Michael
Waksman's snotty vocal snarl make the album absolutely impossible
not to joyfully seizure to. Waksman's voice also mines a shade
of Robert Smith quaver, but with far less misery and
trepidation, and more like he's about to chew glass and spit
it into your mouth. The Washdown borrow much from punk's in-and-out
quick aesthetic, and Yes to Everything barrels into your
speakers and leaves before you've barely had to time to figure
out how to move to its stilted grooves. Still, better pleasured
and left quickly than never pleasured at all, I guess.
1. Kansas City
2. Right Foot
3. Bad Connection With A Lover
4. We've Listened To Your History
5. Confusion (Confusion?)
6. Pull Out. Work. Space.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen
8. Say When
9. Awful Truth
10. Learning Makes You Handsome
11. Killing Word
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