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Brains

The Monster Within

(Sailor's Grave; US: 9 Jul 2013; UK: 15 Apr 2013)

Surfbilly punks from Hell

Canadian rockabilly schlocksters Brains are out to have a wicked good time on their debut full-length The Monster Within, and for a while they succeed. Melding together a hyperkinetic rhythm section with jangling guitar lines and song titles like “Bleed”, “Kill Kill”, “Rest in Pieces” and “Suffering and Pain”, the trio spew forth the sonic equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie—an over-the-top exercise in garish excess that manages to be intermittently entertaining.


With 14 tracks under three minutes a pop, the band adheres to a hit-and-run approach that serves them well with such tunes as album opener “The Monster Within”, the twang-tastic “Misery”, and the surfing-in-hell instrumental “Cucaracha in Leather”. As with many one-note bands, though, the joke wears thin well before the end of the album, and listeners are apt to stert feeling like the record is something of an endurance test. Still, for fans of deeply reverbed guitars, cheerfully macabre lyrics and drums that go really, really fast, there’s much here to chew on—mmm!—and savor, drop by scarlet drop.

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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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