Rotund rapscallion Dave Thomas (not the Wendy's guy) continues Pere Ubu nearly three decades after he first set this pioneering avant-punk group in motion. Unlike any other band that has continued, in some form or another, for such a lengthy period, Pere Ubu has yet to cough up a bad album, and Why I Hate Women is no exception. Although Thomas does not include a single member who played in the band during their '70s and '80s heyday, his over-the-top persona continues to define Pere Ubu. Songs such as "Babylonian Warehouses" and "Flames Over Nebraska" offer the same offhanded charm and perverse experimentation that was the original band's calling card. Keyboardist Robert Wheeler twists knobs and produces blips and beeps, almost in parody/tribute to original member (and current airline pilot) Allen Ravenstine. Guitarist Keith Moline adds piercing leads to the backfiring rhythm section of Michael Temple and Steve Mehlman as Thomas barks out lines such as "In this bar, the beer don't work on me" in his distinct nasal whine. Like a possessed carnival barker on Valium, Thomas continues to be a singular presence in rock. And while the new effort is not on the same level as legendary releases The Modern Dance or Dub Housing, Why I Hate Women fits comfortably alongside the band's '90s releases, proving that even post-punkers can age gracefully and persevere, while still making music of a rare humor, depth and significance.
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