This Beijing punk band (yes, they exist, and are plentiful) has plenty to offer, revolving around sounds that bring to mind a collage of Iggy Pop, The Strokes and Bauhaus. The opening “Die in 1997” is a winding, melodic affair that leads brilliantly into an angular “A Death-Bed Song”, a great dance-rock ditty thanks to drummer Ma Hui’s fine work. But it’s the subtle nuances that really seal the deal on this track, enabling the tension to build and build but never truly burst through. Perhaps the lowlight is “TV Show (Hang the Police)” which sounds like a bad B-52s number. And while the urgent Gang Of Four-ish “Boys in Cage” suggests a sense of urgency and enclosing doom, the trio slows the EP down with the quirky and less appealing “If the Monkey Becomes (To Be) the King” with vocalist Hua Dong sounding like a freaked out Robert Smith still caught in his cobwebs. A bonus U.S. track is nice, but not much more.
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// Notes from the Road
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