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WEIRD WAR
ILLUMINATED BY THE LIGHT
DRAG CITY

Ian Svenonius has been trying to make the indie punks dance and think for the better part of two decades, first with the emo-harDCore proselytizing of Nation of Ulysses, then with the mod garage-punk gospel Make-Up, and now with Weird War. On last yearís If You Canít Beat íEm, Bite íEm, the band seemed lost somewhere between a late-í60s hippie jam and the indie lo-fi lands of Kís International Pop Conspiracy. As Illuminated by the Light suggests, Ianís ethos hasnít changed ó heís still all about bathing himself in a halo of positivity and preaching a DIY version of love thy neighbor. Whatís changed is the music behind the message: if you believe the adage "Free your ass and your mind will follow," then you gotta give people something to groove to. Ianís past albums have mostly been crappy-sounding ads for the live show. But with cleaner production and the addition of Trans Am drummer Sebastian Thomsonís muscular chops, bassist Michelle Mae has tightened up her act, and guitarist Alex Minoffís sinewy riffs have started to lead somewhere tuneful. Ianís still less a singer than a cheerleader ó "There ainít nothing wrong with you" he assures the alienated in mantra-like fashion on "Mental Poisoning," and his rapís more rhythmic than melodic as he asks "Why do guys like girls like that" in the bottom-heavy "Girls like That." It ainít exactly James Brown, but itís getting close.

Weird War | Middle East Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | August 4 | 617.864.EAST

BY MATT ASHARE


Issue Date: July 29 - August 4, 2005
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