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The Mass | City Of Dis (Monotreme)
A Californian quartet plainly inspired by the sharp start-stop dynamics of a thousand Steve Albini productions, The Mass trample over virtually every genre of avant-rock ever christened. And then metal on the growls of Trapped Under A Ice and even some bad strain of jazz on Marca Dos Invernos, as if half the band adore Slint while the other 50% prefer Faith No More, with side-orders of Shellac, Morphine and Frank Zappa. Despite avalanches of guitar and percussion, it's the duel role of Matt Waters which stands out, not only yapping incessantly like the words just came to him but also spraying saxophone over every possible space in the music. Though never truly startling, The Mass do that deranged and damaged thing well, and usually at the core of everything they touch, there's some sort of tune threatening to fight on through.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003

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