DISSATISOUL - Left Arm (Trouble In River City)
Where have these guys been hiding out? St Louis and under a pile of review CDs in the I-94 Bar, as it turns out and I'm still kicking myself for not picking up on this album earlier. "Dissatisoul" dates from 2007 so we are well behind the times, folks.
Left Arm are a three-piece and straddle the often thin line between rock potency and musicality - they're fast, furious and highly-strung but never fall over the divide into noise. It's all firmly anchored in bassist Jim Stotts and drummer Jason Potter's dynamics and vocalist Brad Evetts' deranged vocal and forceful guitar assault. Collectively speaking, however, they carry a guitar in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. They don't tread lightly.
Opener "No Time For Rock n Roll" bounds out of the speakers like a big, dumb puppy - before barring its fangs and using your leg as a toothpick. A rude beat and squalls of guitar lay it out large. "More Harm Than Good" stacks layers of fuzz like a punk rock riff warehouse storeman and packer. The walking bass intro of "Forget The Rock, Let's Roll" leads into a great break-up song. There's a surf-punk tremor in "After Party" and their cover of "New Kind Of Kick"is faithful without falling too deeply into Cramps fandom.
Left Arm went away for a number of years aftyer a previous album and some EPs with members doing various other things. They seem to have knuckled down of late, traveling up to Detroit to record with Jim Diamond. Nearly half of "Dissatisoul" dates from a 2006 EP called "Play 5 Songs With a Caveman" with the balance laid onto tape in 2007. The earlier tracks are produced a little thinly but your ears won't notice by then. "Gonna Get You" is the pick of the previous litter and carries a nasty dose of Left-riffer-Arm(a) while "Love Blast" packs an up-front rush of Stooges skronk that beguilingly sets itself as Son of I Gotta Right before going several other places.
Left Arm seem to be the support-band-of-choice in their hometown, and have opened for the likes of Gore Gore Girls, GitoGito Hustler, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Boss Martians and Modey Lemon. Wonder how much more popular they'd be if they were Right Arm?
A power-trio for the (gar)ages, Left Arm do "dumb smart" well. It's all based on a simple formula: Fuzz + Riffs = Big Fun.
Find out for yourself at the Trouble In River City (TIRC) website. Jeff Kopp, who runs the essential Garage Punk website/empire, put the album out on his own label and you can name your price if you want to download a copy, or part with a pittance via Paypal for the real thing. - The Barman
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