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The Washdown
Yes To Everything
Lookout! Records
www.thewashdown.com


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.

-Terry Sawyer

Track Listing:

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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