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The Catheters
HOWLING . . . IT GROWS AND GROWS
(Sub Pop)

This discís title is appropriate: few young bands tap the howling scraped-nerve spirit of punk rockís first generation with the Catheterís noisy authority. Youíll hear a lot in their scalding mixes, depending on your reference points. I get flashbacks of the first line-up of Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Pylon, the Dead Boys, the Stooges, the early Cramps, the Sex Pistols, and Gang of Four as tunes like the paranoid "No Natural Law" burn my ears. If that sounds like most of primal punk rockís hall of fame, so be it. These guys are that good.

But any echoes you hear arenít as important as the way singer Brian Standeford moans and rants as if he had a heartful of shrapnel and soul, or the way guitarist Derek Mason seems to have a bottomless bag of string-strangling bends, atonal bombs, and raggedly ass-clattering riffs that explode from everywhere in the 11 tunes that make up this Seattle outfitís third album. "Ravenous Animal" is especially cool, its grizzly power chords and grinding licks compounded by Standefordís yelping portrayal of himself as a rabid, desperate beast. And underneath it all, a sense of hooks and melody still bleeds through, especially in the big chorus of "Easy Life" and the chopping, chiming guitar that propels "Cold Blood Crawling." Hereís another cheap comparison: if you werenít too happy with the recent MC5 reunion that included Evan Dando, the way this crew kick out the jams should slap a smile back on your face.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: July 9 - 15, 2004
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