400 Blows Angel's Trumpets and Devil's Trombones

Martially-attired Los Angeles post-hardcore three-piece 400 Blows are at least as punk as the 1959 François Truffaut "nouvelle vague” tale of delinquency come-of-age from which the band takes their name. The band’s cinematic interests don’t stop there: this album’s title is taken from a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, in which delinquent par excellence Alex invites two young ladies to "hear angel trumpets and devil trombones” by bringing their records over to his pad for a spin. On this second 400 Blows album, there isn’t a sweet angel trumpet to be had for love or money, but dark devil trombones abound. Produced by former Fudge Tunnel mastermind and At the Drive In/Mars Volta producer Alex Newport, 400 Blows here deliver pitch-perfect drop-tuned up-tempo sludge: thickly distorted bass-amped drop-D guitars gather up front in the mix; hard-hit drums pound and sometimes almost groove; and vocalist Skot’s nasal whine of a scream occasionally pierces through all that racket. For all their forays into slow Sabbath-riffing and Kyuss-like stoner rock, and the tape-looped weirdness of the closing instrumental "Ice Forest,” the ethos underlying this experimentation remains thoroughly punk rock throughout. The results are first rate. (Gold Standard Laboratories)