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Paulisdead | Let The Losers Slug It Out (Five Sister)
An album where the downbeat easily usurps its up-tempo opposite, 'Let The Losers Slug It Out' is hardly an album du jour come party season. What it is, though, is a record that lifts from (college) rock past - Sonic Youth, Slint, Fugazi - and merges influences without ever sounding dated, or worse like a pale imitation of the aforementioned. The title track - a slow, knuckle-dragging, mostly instrumental effort - is a decent representation of the album as a whole: three-and-a-bit minutes of music that never imposes itself upon the listener with particular conviction yet still sounds pleasantly diverting. Indeed, much of this album could pass you by without so much as an eyelid being batted. Not so The Wretch, a quite brilliant effort that unwinds like the most taught of Slinkys in a tug-of-war bout between armed forces and comprises a notable highlight. That's in no way intended to imply that 'Let The Losers...' is generally devoid of such highs; it's just that a drop of sunshine wouldn't go amiss on a record that's basically forty-odd minutes of music perfectly matched to the grey-blue gloom of winter. Dare I ask: let a little light in next time, won't you?

Mike Diver
February-April 2005