Thumbnail That Static

Imagining what this album would have sounded like if Steve Albini had recorded it is a fun thought. Chicago's Thumbnail (originally from Knoxville) reek of Albini's past works, primarily Nirvana's In Utero and his own Big Black and Shellac recordings. Thumbnail uses extreme volume to make punk rock at a destructive level. The vocals are aggressive and melodic, the guitars are sneaky and powerful and the drums crash like unsuspected thunder in the night. Some immediate parallels are ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Girls Against Boys, but unfortunately That Static lacks the sheer excitement of the former and the suave mannerisms of the latter. That's not to say Thumbnail can't serve up a mean plate of blistering rock'n'roll - "*.* (Chasm of Doom)" maintains the intensity of Nirvana's "Milk It" while "I Think I Fell" uses Sonic Youth's patented off-key guitar riffs for nine-plus minutes. It's unclear whether this band will get back together on a permanent basis (some members left for other commitments), but if they do, things can only get better from here. (File 13)