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Gogoairheart | ExitheUXA (GSL Records)
Given Britain's recent fixations with full tilt Garage rock and No-Wave, Gogogoairheart's fourth full-length release is certainly well timed. Although there is a superficial thematic link to the current wave of American guitar warriors, this San Diegan quartet's take on primitive rock 'n roll seems to come from more of a cerebral background. Whereas the likes of The Von Bondies, The Bellrays and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have succumbed to the over-amplified power of the MC5 and the more abandoned moments of Lenny Kaye's seminal Nuggets compilation, the eclectic post punk scene appears to float Gogoairheart's boat. Indeed, the angular twin guitar workouts of Benjamin White and Mike Vermillion wouldn't sit out of place alongside the scratchy symphonies of The Pop Group or Alternative Television. The album centrepiece Move Along offsets the rockabilly shuffle of The Fall's Fit and Working again with Vermillion's snottily compressed Bolanesque vocal howl. Elsewhere, the enigmatically monikered A.Vayas' strident bass guitar motifs dominate: both Sit and Stare and When the Flesh Hits reverberate with the Chic influenced octaves of the Gang of Four, nicely upping the punk-funk ante. The band's willingness to incorporate stylish Talking Heads dance structures, as well as gentler trumpet and acoustic guitar flourishes, sometimes seems at odds with the defiantly lo-fidelity band production, reminiscent of the third Velvet Underground album's intimacy. With a bit more phlegm and polish, Gogoairheart's potential may well be realised, as recording at the E-Street band's old house (now the GSL offices) hints at respect of raw, yet commercial, rock and rollers. As Royal Trux capably demonstrated on 'Accelerator', avant-punk techniques can be married to a luminous rock and roll production with exhilarating results.
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002