Die Mannequin Unicorn Steak

The Hole comparisons are inevitable but I’d much rather chomp down on a big beefy slab of Die Mannequin’s Unicorn Steak than any of the bland tripe Courtney’s been cooking post-millennium. The Toronto three-piece’s full-length debut lacks the raw instability of some of their punk-leaning forbearers but it sounds like a conscious attempt at professionalism more than a lack of intensity or deliberate sanitisation. Make no mistake, lead singer-songwriter/guitarist Care Failure has ferocious attitude in spades. Her rhythmic guitar grind could handily relocate the balls of any macho rocker to his stomach with the skill of an anatomy major wielding an icy steel pipe. Comprised of the band’s two previous EPs and two additional tracks, Steak is cohesive, but the slicker production of the more recent Slaughter Daughter half doesn’t seem as engaging after the stabbing grit of the How To Kill material, the bludgeoning dirge anthem "Empty’s Promise” and album closing, goat-horn approved rocker "Hand In Hand.” Unicorn Steak’s a tasty and rare breed of simple meaty quality, one best served bloody raw. (Warner)