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Useless Eaters

Hypertension

(Jeffrey Drag; US: 19 Feb 2013; UK: 19 Feb 2013)

The next time you’re putting together a vampire movie, consider Useless Eaters as your soundtrack. This isn’t just because of the teeth-dripping-blood photo on the album cover—there is something genuinely sinister about these spiky garage-rock anthems. Vocals are heavy on the reverb, guitars are punchy and melodic rather than power-chord-heavy, and these short, sharp tunes (averaging about 2:30) have titles like “Addicted to the Blade”, “Death Gripped” and “Black Night Ultraviolet”. In the tradition of UK guitar bands like Scorpio Rising, the Brit-accented vocals (go figure—the band is from Tennessee) come with a heavy dose of sneering, but there’s always a wink to let you know not to take anything too seriously. “Death Gripped” sounds like the bastard child of the Buzzcocks and the Ramones, but there’s a strong Kings of the Wild Frontier-era Adam Ant influence as well. This isn’t to say there’s no originality here. There’s plenty, from the sinister sashay of album opener “A New Program” to the vaguely electronic rumblings of “Life On a Grid”. “Smoke Alarm” sounds almost sunshiney in comparison, while five-minute album closer “Vertical Africa” finishes off the proceedings in typically high-energy fashion, with a good dose of extended guitar noodling to boot. These tunes are ideal for late-night rocking—just be sure to hang some garlic in the doorway first.

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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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