X27, Antilove

X27, Antilove

Anyone starting a listen of X27’s Antilove at the logical place, the beginning, could be forgiven for underestimating the Brooklyn trio, as opener “Da-Na-Do” is the worst song on the album by a long shot. The band spends a lot of time walking the razor’s edge that separates the unstudied, naturalistic charm of pure punk rock from slapped-together junk, and “Da-Na-Do” falls decidedly on the wrong side. It’s a strange misstep, considering how nimbly and with what self-assurance the band walks that line on the rest of Antilove. Happily, though, it’s also easy to forgive once the band launches into Carmen X’s brash, swaggering “Come On Down.”

The band’s simple punk often sounds like rock and roll spiked with L.A. nihilism, and thus suggests another male and female-fronted punk band whose name begins with “X-“. A more direct musical comparison would lead to early Sonic Youth, especially in the case of the spooky slow burn “It’s All For You,” on which Carmen’s double-tracked vocals evoke a menacing spirit while guitarist Rikkeh Sutn and drummer Massey whip up a demonic ceremony. The band’s sound suggests influences from D.C. and Chicago as well, coming across like a female-fronted Fugazi on “Inside Out World” and something resembling Girls Against Boys or the Jesus Lizard on Sutn’s “Red Is Green.”

Most of all, though, the band always sounds like itself, and as satisfying as some of this material is, X27’s biggest achievement may be an ability to step into someone else’s idiom for a few minutes without losing a sense of themselves. That’s the only way the band could pull off a song like “Antilove,” which hinges masterfully on an exquisite tension between whisper and roar, violence and sensuality, and which could have gone terribly wrong. That hair-raising balance is one of the simple pleasures that Antilove offers to punk connoisseurs — assuming they aren’t afraid to use their “Skip” button.

(Narnack Records -- 8033 Sunset Blvd. #1052, Hollywood, CA. 90046; http://www.narnackrecords.com/; X27 -- http://www.x27labs.com/)
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Review by . Review posted Friday, September 21st, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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