Obits, I Blame You
Straight out of the hipster bowels of Brooklyn comes possibly the most unassuming yet rawest garage-rock crew you’re likely to hear any time real soon. On I Blame You, Obits churn through twelve tracks’ worth of driving, dark-as-hell rawk that’s at turns drone-y and noisy but never too much of either one. The grim, moody, Sonics-meets-Cramps sound might make you think these four guys — ex-Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes guitarist/frontman Rick Froberg, ex-Edsel guitarist Sohrab Habibion, bassist Greg Simpson, and drummer Scott Gursky, all vets with rock resumes a mile deep — stomp around their NY ‘hood wearing black leather jackets and zombie/vampire makeup, but nah, they’re too freaking real for that. Obits aren’t about campy costumes but about stripped-down, retro-cool rock; nothing more, nothing less.
Lyrically and vocally, the whole thing spits venom, with Froberg grafting a nearly audible sneer onto tracks like the bitterly sarcastic “Talking To The Dog” and blazing, furious standout track “Pine On.” The band’s utter confidence comes through in the loose, wide-open playing, but Obits manage to keep things taut and tense throughout, even still. The murky bass, echoey/distorted, almost-surf-rock-y dueling guitars, and threatening rhythm lines push things further along, making the songs on I Blame You sound like they belong on the soundtrack to some never-made movie about a pair of killers that shoot a cop and then hit the road, on the lam and paranoid. You can practically see the movie poster, all bold, scratchy titles, hard faces, and clichéd Mike Hammer-style taglines.
Put all together, this is the kind of band you accidentally encounter in some kind of Dream of the Big City thing during a night of restless near-slumber. You find yourself wandering the streets of a dirty, grimy city that might be NYC, might be somewhere else — who knows? — and somehow discover a half-hidden basement door to a smoke-filled club packed with people with murder in their eyes. Up on the low stage, there’s a band playing, howling and beating on their instruments to make this sinister, menacing noise. You know, somewhere in your dreaming mind, that you need to get the fuck out of there, get back to your safe, warm bed before something bad happens, but you’re transfixed, frozen by that perfectly-placed, utterly dangerous sound.