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Obits - Moody, Standard And Poor

Impossible to ignore or, ultimately, to resist.

There’s an interesting contradiction to be found at the start of Obits fiery sophomore record, ‘Moody, Standard And Poor’, as the first two song titles, ‘You Gotta Lose’ and ‘I Want Results,’ stand starkly at odds with each other. Perhaps the band considers defeat to at least be a worthy result of simply bothering to show up to the competition in the first place, with the songs serving as a bleak allegory to obstinately making your way through the venomous world of the music industry even though success is an infrequent but still tantalizing outcome. But more than likely the distinguished members of Obits don’t care too much about such trifling matters, and the clashing titles are mere coincidences on a taut, spirited album where you don’t have to dig that deep to find stimulation.

The twelve tracks assembled here are fun, feisty numbers that are gritty but crisp, as the relentless songs chug along breathlessly through the album’s all-too-brief 35 minutes. After the raucous opening, the band settles into the poppy (for them) garage-rock bliss of ‘Everything Looks Better In The Sun,’ propelled by the contagious caterwauling of frontman Rick Froberg. It’s a blistering, menacing track that really shifts the album into a high gear that the group never really eases up on, as the propulsive ‘Killer’ and ‘No Fly List’ both blow by at full tilt.

And while the band clearly aren’t reinventing the musical wheel here (with their myriad of influences unconcealed and easy to spot), that never seems to be their aim, as they tear through one gratifying punk-blues jam after another, crafting a tense but uncluttered sound that is at once refreshing, but has a familiar feel to it as well. And while the band have scaled back on the scope and reach of their dense debut, they have brought an added focus and fire to these tracks that only builds on the swelling momentum the group generated with I Blame You.

These bristling new tracks don’t really represent a reinvention of Obits signature sound (certainly an ‘if it ain’t broke situation’ if there ever was one), but they are expanding their sonic boundaries a bit, reveling in the untamed space within their sound and getting a little loose behind drummer Scott Gursky and bassist Greg Simpson’s insistent rhythms alongside Froberg and Sohrab Habibion’s crunchy riffs. And while Moody, Standard And Poor is clearly a darker, more volatile batch of songs than the ones on their sprawling first record, the introspective, personal tracks like ‘Naked To The World,’ ‘New August,’ and ‘Standards’ are offset nicely by the jocular bite of ‘Spot The Pikey’ and ‘Beggin’ Dogs.’ But whatever side of the coin these songs fall on, there is an urgency and pulse to these forceful numbers that makes them impossible to ignore or, ultimately, to resist.

Tags: Obits, Reviews, Album Reviews

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