So, back in the early Aughts, ‘round about the birth of this blog, Wounded Lion ruled the speakers. The band was acerbic, witty, rough, and weathered in a way that instantly entered their songs into the grander scheme of what made garage and punk work. They merged the past and present visions of what punk could be — they were post-punk in as much as they sanded off the pretense of punk and experimented with form, but you’d be remiss to say they didn’t grind into your glands with a guitar fire that could take any of the tape-hiss competition to task at the time. While Lars Finberg has never flagged in his dominance over the shredded ends of punk and noise (see: A Frames, The Intelligence, Puberty) bandleader Brad Eberhard took a break from the wilds of rock for a while. He and fellow former Lion Jun Ohnuki return with Finberg to scrape the sense from synth and new wave in the same way they did for punk.
Rubber Blanket slashes the tires on the coolness of synth and inflates it with the experimental impulses that fed Fad Gadget and the detached air that surrounded John Foxx. They take away any perceptions of coolness that might have hampered the genre and let their instincts lead them down dark and degraded hallways. On “Rock Today” a rubberized bass swings the track up and down on a parachute of rhythm while Eberhard’s vocals are waxed clean of any swagger. Sax lines blow in with an air-conditioned chill, not flashy but adding a strange comfort to the proceedings. Despite their best efforts, the song does wind up with a certain uneasy coolness, but there’s enough itch that it’ll scare away most synth window shoppers. The band’s debut Our Album lands this Friday from Spacecase.
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