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Bald Eagle

Hot Shoulders

(Emergency Umbrella; US: 21 Aug 2007; UK: Available as import)

One of the signs of a genuinely talented act is that they can make a fan out of you even if you don’t necessarily like their style of music. I’ve never been that into the kind of blazing hard, riff-heavy indie punk metal that Bald Eagle plays. And yet by the second listen to this sophomore effort I was totally cranking it up, man (as the guys in Bald Eagle might say). What gives? The main reason for my enthusiasm is that this Columbia, Missouri quartet writes songs so infectious they seem to invade your central nervous system. Bald Eagle also soars through each number as if someone were holding a gun to their heads shouting “More energy! More power!” Finally, they have a hell of a sense of humor, giving their songs titles like “Those Are Cobras, Man” and “What’s All This Brew Ha-Ha?” The thrashy “Jammin’ the Wedge” consists of little more than the title being shouted repeatedly, yet its one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. Guitarists Danny Matteson and Mikey Wheeler crank out six-string harmonies that cross old metal with surf and punk, while drummer Justin McCready and bassist Justin Nardy make like early Red Hot Chili Peppers on speed. I was worried this record would court disaster. Now I’m worried it’ll earn me a noise violation, but when they drag me into court my only defense will be to shout: “Jammin’ the wedge, it gets you so up! Jammin’ the wedge, it gets you so up!”

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