Crispy Ambulance The Powder Blind Dream

Proving that old dogs can not only learn new tricks, but also bite just as well, Crispy Ambulance rise again, showing their comeback album, Scissorgun, was not just a one-night stand. Formed back in the ’70s and signed to legendary Factory Records, Crispy Ambulance were often derided as Joy Division-lite and, until recent current interest in their ’70s output, broke up in the early ’80s. With all things post-punk coming into that cyclical revival, Crispy Ambulance is striking while the iron is hot. Unfortunately, the semi-originators don’t seem to be doing as good a job as the imitators. The energy is immense for a band that’s been out of commission for a good decade or two, as seen best on "Evil Eye” and "Lucifer Rising,” but the songs generally don’t come together. "Four Line Whip” annoys with its George of the Jungle bass lines, while "Quarter Caste” underwhelms when it should rile up. "Lucifer Rising” is the standout, with jerky, tense guitars and primal howls, and "Pain & Pleasure” slows the tempo down, but acquits itself nicely. Atonal singing goes along with the genre, but an entire album’s worth grates more than inspires, which hits on The Powder Blind Dream’s problem in general. Despite apparent energy, this album never really gets going and instead sputters along, leaving it for diehard post-punk fans or those with a love for all things Factory Records. (Darla)