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Thursday, June 22, 2006

MULTIPLE MUMBLES

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Cool Death of the Island Raiders / Double Death
Label: Narnac
Length: LP
Rated: NONE
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Cool Death of the Island Raiders / Double Death, The

'Alohaâ?� never equals 'goodbyeâ?� for John Dwyer. No sooner has the San Francisco-based musician shut down one enterprise, he's thrown himself into one or more new or co-existing projects. Thus Lightning Bolt-ripoff duo Pink & Brown begat noisy garage trio Coachwhips, which in turn begat the quieter folk/noise Ohsees ' a not-quite-solo act Dwyer had been fronting concurrently for a number of years under the name OCS (short for Orinoka Crash Suite). He's had his fingers in so many pies ' Landed, Zeigenbock Kopf, the Hospitals, a spanking new avant band named Yikes, countless others ' that some might conclude that Dwyer's got some serious commitment and/or restraint issues.

Double Death corrals B-sides and covers for a reliably scuffed, raucous post-mortem send-off that previous Coachwhips efforts forecast. Twenty-five bouts of whiplashing, rough-and-ready guitars, equally unsanded keyboard scaling and drum tremors scare up dense clouds of sonic dirt and dust storms, from which Dwyer's through-a-broken-megaphone wails, slip 'n' slide yelps and cartoonish exclamations emerge, happily and obliviously indecipherable. It really isn't important to grok what he's pogo-popping off about ' there's no lyric sheet, anyway ' as the purpose of this sort of music is so clearly to act as a kinetic force, to drive one to headbang, dance or crank the volume knob. As ever, loud Coachwhips is exhilarating Coachwhips, especially when they start laying waste to Gories, Velvet Underground and Kinks numbers. Their slovenly go at Adam Ant's 'Whip in My Valiseâ?� ('Whippin' My Valiseâ?�) is the oil-slick icing on Double Death's steaming gravel cake.

The Ohsees, on the other hand, devastate with considerably more subtlety. The project's previous albums (as OCS) have inched steadily out of a gulch of hair-raising folk songs, noise molt and unclassifiable throwaways; The Cool Death of Island Raiders feels like the final rung of an evolutionary ladder. A pair of mannered drone compositions break up what at first seem like relatively innocuous acoustic ditties. Until, that is, you start to home in on what Dwyer's actually singing in that goose-fleshing, half-castrated falsetto he favors for these outings. That's when you realize his earnest love-your-woman entreaty is titled 'The Guilded Cuntâ?� and that he sprinkles that word everywhere and that the downy, sashaying 'Island Raidersâ?� is about horrible massacres: 'They grease our floors/with scores and scores of random kills.â?�

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