By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Denton's Bad Design understand the role artistic influences should play in an individual's own creation. The post-punk trio consisting of Steve Altuna, John Hossley and Clint Sawyer has obviously enjoyed the works of Fugazi and the Pixies, yet they've managed to produce a raw-boned album that merely draws from those influences and avoids blindly Xeroxing the classic sounds onto their record.
The primal pain that permeates Altuna's vocals often rumbles lowly with an angst that effortlessly releases into soaring yelps. Such madness matches the intensity of the music when things really kick into a much higher gear from where the tune started—especially in the album-opening "Long Time Coming." Whether it's the fuzz-saw frenzy in "40 Honey Buns" or the Built to Spill-style mellowness of "Milk Maid," each song is unpredictable, yet retains a solid overall form.
The real shining moment, however, comes with the album's triumphant closer, "Surfing Waves," a sweeping anthem that hammers the record home, not with prime-time ready melodrama, but with sweaty, red-faced fervor. It's a fervor that can't come from ripping off another band, something Bad Design understands even if so many others don't.
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