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Pow Wows

Nightmare Sode

(Get Hip; US: 13 Mar 2012; UK: 13 Mar 2012)

Toronto garage rockers make some (fairly predictable) noise.

Toronto’s Pow Wows aspire to be nothing more than a jangly, jarring garage rock band, and to a fair extent they succeed. The elements are there: dentist-drill guitars, slacker-sloppy vocals and a rhythm section that likes to hit things really hard with sticks. There’s not a great deal of originality here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the muddled lo-fi recording serves to obscure whatever unique voice the band may possess, hiding it behind a veneer of tinny guitar and swampy effects.


The album kicks off with a sample of a roaring Godzilla, but this belies the lightweight nature of both the tunes and the production, which is treble-heavy in the extreme. Interestingly enough, the second half of the album improves over the first, with songs like “Seeing Black”, “Worry… Don’t” and “Four Star” being the strongest and catchiest on the record. Album closer “Plastic Factory” is a Captain Beefheart tune that makes the band’s goals and manifesto clear; trouble is, there’s nothing much to those goals beyond some guys aping their heroes for 33 minutes. Until that changes, this band is an act that might make for a fun night out, but it’s hardly anything that warrants serious attention.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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