Confident, snarling post-punk debut from Chicago band Negative Scanner. Known for their blistering live performances, the self titled album captures this intensity in a 28 minute whirlwind. Recorded in their own practice space it’s a truly DIY effort. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Trouble In Mind. Includes download code.
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It’s no frills Wednesday at Norman HQ, which means no big ideas, no grand gestures and no eureka moments; just fast, furious work. In a segue that gives that opening sentence any semblance of meaning, here’s an album by toothless post-punkers Negative Scanner, makers of short stop songs with little more than well-thrashed drums and jarring, gruesomely toned guitars. On their debut, which is called the same thing as they are, they recall a host of punks who stomped through the recording process and made it all feel important afterwards.
Negative Scanner make good songs on budget time, but what I like best about them is the way they seem to tremble out their songs, as if they’re constantly looking over their shoulder at the clock. On “Gone Wild”, frontwoman Rebecca Valeriano-Flores yelps and gulps tremors to us a la the cunning Wipers meeting the politically enraged Sleater-Kinney. Riffs that should sound bouncy instead sound clumsy and aggressive, cloying at the listener rather than invoking air guitar. ‘Negative Scanner’ is quick and full of energy but through its discordant strums (check that one ringing chord of “C.P.D.", which sounds a little Women) it feels more like a trap than anything.
At points this record hints at another avenue of post-punk that we have, from time to time, called new wave, but it feels more subliminal than anything; “Planet of Slums” introduces nimble guitar motifs that sound like they’re teasing New Order for using synths. These moments only exist tangentially, and the song eventually dovetails into a horrible mess of solos coalescing around nothing. This band don’t waste time but they do know how to ruin it.
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