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Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!
VOLCANO, IíM STILL EXCITED!!
(Polyvinyl)
Stars graphics

They call themselves Volcano, Iím Still Excited!! Why? Itís one of those impenetrable mysteries of the universe. Whatís not impenetrable is the bandís readily accessible repertoire of shouty short songs, catchy like Mike Piazza and occasionally as emotionally conflicted. The Austin-via-Brooklyn trio use just a $10 Casio keyboard (played by Mark Duplass, only because severe tendonitis in both arms quashed his guitar-hero dreams), a guitar (Craig Montoro, who sings too), and double-bass drum set (John Thomas Robinette III). But no bass. Yes, we too are sick of gimmicky instrumentation, but these guys paint in broad sonic strokes, transcending contrivance with creative aplomb. (Whatís more, theyíve been known to bust some sweatband-clad aerobics on stage ó paging Punk Rock Aerobics!!)

This full-length debut evokes some of the more melodic emo screamers, tempered with wistful Weezerisms and invigorated with a punchy new-wave two-step. The infectious "2nd Gun" kicks off with Kool-&-the-Gangís gong, but lifts off in short order toward a new romantic empyrean where synthesizers soar but hearts sink softly. "Trunk of My Car" starts starkly a cappella but with the addition of more voices, rumbling drum rolls, and sweeps of layered sound, it blossoms into anthemic apotheosis. While the jerky angst-in-pants spasms of "In Green" turn up the hot hot heat, the rhythmic repetition of "By No Means" is flouncy and bouncy, almost recalling another ivory-tickling trio, Ben Folds Five. And "Two Exclamation Points" is a thunderous sound-drenched waltz, replete with dizzying falsetto harmonies, that should go some way toward explaining the bandís cognomen ó- but doesnít.

(Volcano, Iím Still Excited!! perform this Monday, February 2, at the Middle East; call 617-864-3278.)

BY MIKE MILIARD


Issue Date: January 30 - February 5, 2004
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