If Alec Empire and the B-52's had a child, and that child required ADHD medication, you'd be left with noise-rock duo Volcanoes. Jon Ryan and Eric Peters can't tell if they're in a noise collective, a metal band or a jock-jam dance crew, and that musical schizophrenia pays dividends on the pair's debut Heavy Hands. Across eleven tracks and nearly 40 minutes, the band tries on mutated cheerleader chants ("Steel Plates Slicing Through My Every Thought"), paranoid psych-rock with reedy organ drones (the badass "My Face is Blood") and industrial bass pulses set against ho-hum lyrics ("Oil Rainbow"). Not everything sticks to the wall, but the disc gives a restless tour through two dudes' fixations on a few differing but intersecting genres.
Drummer and keyboardist Peters pushes his vocals above the din he and Ryan's bass and synth parts creates, though you're not listening to Volcanoes for the words — you're here for the riffs. Some of these are true headbangers; others just run themselves against the wall in either a sort of tantric repetition or due to a dearth of good ideas. But this is pop music, no matter how fractured, noisy or pneumatic, so the songs rarely overstay their welcome. Closing cut "...And Then We Destroyed Each Other" may be the best in-the-wild moment for a band that's tough to pin down. The lead line has garage-punk balls and heavy-metal precision, and Peters' sneering, distorted vocals cut clean through the simple and hypnotic pattern, all before the song slows to a crawl in the final minute in a hail of cymbal crashes and synth squiggles.
Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.