Holy Smokes Talk To Your Kids About Gangs

After repeated listens, the latest Holy Smokes record makes suicide seem pretty fucking attractive. Featuring members of Hella, Pinback and the Advantage, Holy Smokes happily take noise rock to obnoxious new lows with Talk To Your Kids About Gangs. Hella drummer Zach Hill is as phenomenal as ever, lining up one frenetic fill after another to create the core beats for marginally mapped out songs like "Too Many Wives (All You Need is Blood)” and "If You Pull it Out, You Better Use It.” In other instances, guitars, synths and samplers played by the likes of Rob Crow and Dan Elkan create an alienating atmosphere, blurring the lines between experimentation and nihilism on songs such as "Pretty Much None of Us Know Anything” and the howling scream fest that is "Missed Connections.” There are moments where the band’s glee in creating these messes is palpable, "Don’t Squab on God’s Tracks” and "Quantum Leaper of Los Angeles County” come to mind, with the latter’s epic scale actually housing an engaging punk song snippet. Ditto for the frustratingly catchy "Young Accent,” whose taunting refrain is difficult to leave behind. By "Welcome to Say You’re Welcome” and an improvised cover of "Young Man’s Blues,” the "who-gives-a-fuck” nature of the record finally seems slightly more endearing than irritating but by then, it’s too little to late. The pockets of awesome musicianship are not enough to sustain interest in Holy Smokes. (Skin Graft)