Black Eyes

Cough (Dischord Records)

Screaming may be as standard in rock and roll as the four-bar guitar solo, but after listening to D.C.'s Black Eyes, I felt like I'd never heard genuine blood-and-guts howling before. Two drummers, two bassists and one guitarist play on this album, although they're rather overshadowed by the paint-peeling, butt-clenching, garage-door-opening simultaneous screams of two men credited only as "Hugh" and "Daniel." (Use your last names, boys. Make your mamas proud!) Not a mere gimmick, Black Eyes emerges as a deeply enjoyable act. The poisonous guitar screech, frantic bass and tribal drumbeat give the lyrics the kind of cultish zeal that makes me reconsider calling the Von Bondies "raw." This band obviously has a heart, and it's bleeding all over the floor. Black Eyes performs courtesy of the Dischord label, prompting the question "Is this punk?" Even though the Ian MacKaye-type vocals recall the hardest of hardcore, the band drifts from no-wave pseudo jazz to indie disco. It's a bit confusing. Confusing and awesomely entertaining.
 
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