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Thee Fine Lines

Set You Straight

(Licorice Tree; US: 5 Apr 2007; UK: Available as import)

Rock and roll doesn’t come much rougher than Thee Fine Lines, a Missouri-based threesome whose 2004 self-titled debut won raves from hard-core garage purists everywhere. Now three years later, the Kearbey brothers are back with a new bass player, and another rampage through early 1960s-esque roughage á la the Sonics, the Monomen and the Mummies. They’ve borrowed the extra “e” from Billy Childish, and they certainly share some of his minimalist aesthetic. However, there’s little of the Headcoates frontman’s intellectual dynamism or sardonic humor here; these are straight up keg-tapping, sweat-dripping, two- and three-minute party songs, about the cruelties of lust and the revenge of the spurned. It’s hard to choose a favorite here, but “Midnight’s Fine”, slinks along on an evil bass line, smouldering looks and backseat sex implied in its insinuating groove. And “Corinne” hits fast and hard and rough, pushing its Chuck Berry guitar barrage to maximum, dangerous speeds until the whole thing threatens to burst into flames. Yes, the garage rock genre is as stylized as Kabuki theater, and no, there’s nothing revolutionary on this disc. But how many bands are executing the formula this well? Set You Straight rocks, pure and simple.

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