Axis: Sova


For their latest album, Chicago’s Axis: Sova have shaken free of the basement bindings that were so prevalent on their earlier works. With each record, the band has inched closer to a bigger sound, but on Blinded By Oblivion they crash headlong through the plate glass barriers without so much as a look back. The new album, produced by Ty Segall, gets its biggest boost in the rhythm section. While Brett Sova and longtime foil Tim Kaiser had served as the ecstatic engine in the past, Tim’s exit proved a catalyst for the band to new era. With the addition of Josh Johannpeter on drums and Jeremy Freeze on bass, the band rounds out to a power trio, and they make the most of the formula. The live drums, layered in with a usual dose of some programmed patter, give the record its amphetamine heart, a key ingredient that coalesces their sound.

The fuzz that surrounded the band in the past is burned away with an acid splash of neon glow and chrome glare. Sova brought a vision of Devo, Wire, and Toni Visconti to Segall’s studio door, but the band have also burrowed deep into the android heart of Tubeway Army’s sound, scratching deep into their cauterized soul. Further into the caustic creep of the album, the band slides a few slices of Magazine, Soft Boys, Twinkeyz, and Simply Saucer into the synapses as well. They capture the ether and embalming fluid, grit-teethed tension of this period of punk better than most, fully embracing the knife-edge of the period’s sound. The dance between numb horror and a popped-vein anxious edge engulfs the record — it’s overwhelmed, dissociated, angry, but also vibrating with a Novocaine glow that makes it all seem like those feelings are projected on the back of the skull. The album begins to feel like dipping oneself in wax, then spending 38 minutes peeling layers back with a butter knife. Feels good to slice away a few pounds of artifice, beats chewing on fillings and waiting for the waters to rise.

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