Built around ragged guitars and androgynous vocals, Miami’s Lil Daggers is at its least interesting on songs like album opener “Wasting”, a high-tempo affair that ought to rawk but insteads just flails. Follow-up tune “Slave Exchange” is a midtempo cruncher that’s far more successful, maybe because the vocalist can channel a bit of Iggy Pop into the screw-it-I-don’t-care delivery. The farfisa takes prominence, too, which is always a good thing. A couple tracks later, “Ghost Herd” weaves a web from the simplest of organ and bass lines; its 4:40 running time should be nothing but tedious, but instead it’s hypnotic. Go figure.
At this point you realize you’re not even halfway into the record and you’ve listened a couple of damn fine songs. The good news is that, despite a couple of missteps, the balance of the album retains this high standard. Interestingly, it is the uptempo songs that are least successful, but when the band allows itself to sound like the unholy love child of Iron Butterfly and the Stooges, Lil Daggers are more than the sum of its influences. The plod-rock of “Dead Golden Girls” manages the trick of sounding comfortably familiar without being derivative of any particular band. Alternating between rocking out and spacing out, Lil Daggers deliver a solid lil’ debut.