The garage-rock combo Left Arm started as a two-piece, morphed briefly into a quartet and has now settled in as a nervy, primal trio. It's an ideal state for the Edwardsville, Illinois, band: There's no fat or fluff on these songs, just a lot of fuzzy bass, thick riffs and plenty of 'tude. Drummer and singer Jason Potter sounds like he's using twelve-gauge drumsticks, clubbing away at his snare and socking the loose hi-hat like a broken jaw. Dissatisoul
combines seven new tracks (recorded with Joe Stumble, who's since left the band, on guitar) along with five songs from last year's Play 5 Songs with a Caveman
EP (recorded with a two-guitar lineup). Stumble's guitar playing adds an eerie level of atmosphere to the album's first half; he can spit out riffs all night long, but his squeals and squalls give a new dimension to these songs.
By design, there is not a lot to say about garage-rock lyrics in general, and Left Arm is no different: some girls are hot, some hot girls are troublesome and rock & roll is our only salvation. The words may be space-fillers, but the delivery of the songs (sung by all three members) embodies the grit, energy and recklessness of the music. The best of the bunch is the Jello Biafra-meets-the-Cramps stomp of "Gotta Go," in which Potter exhorts the crowd to anoint themselves with "the holy barbecue sauce of rock & roll." In that case, call me a pork steak and bring on the Maull's.
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