New Science Projects consists of Dale Jones screaming, singing, moaning, ranting and screaming some more while slashing away at a buzzing resonator guitar, occasionally adding a drum loop or electronic noise, or ditching musical accompaniment altogether to growl a cappella. The raucous blues- and rock-influenced folk is recorded so hot that his voice and guitar are frequently distorted, making his already raw songs sound even rougher. You halfway expect spittle to fly from the speakers as he sputters and shouts.
The album kicks off, appropriately, with "Let's Begin," a laundry list of self-loathing rants ("Well, let's begin, I got an evil heart/I ain't got no friends, I ain't looking hard") screamed—sometimes coherently—over choppy 12-bar blues. Next up is the just-as-negative "Give Up and Die," a deceptively cheerful-sounding country-folk-rock tune accented with distorted guitar and a driving drum beat. These two songs—neither longer than 90 seconds—are all you need to hear to decide whether you're gonna love it or hate it. Pity anyone who falls in the latter camp, as they'll miss great songs like the blues shuffle "Blood" and Jones' Tom Waits-ish growling on "Big Iron Pen."
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The highlight of the album, though, is "Wet Sights," which combines somber piano, screeching guitar and a marching beat behind what will surely be the local music Line of the Year: "You can come in my mouth, don't you get near my heart."