Songs from This Album
Album Reviews: Young Machetes by The Blood BrothersThe Blood Brothers made a big splash right out of the gates, alternately exciting and repulsing listeners with their screeching two-headed vocal monster, vaudevillian hardcore and maniacal live shows. Understandably, those will always be the salad days for some of their fans; even as they make albums that are more ambitious and better crafted, The Blood Brothers will never be able to muster that initial shock and awe again -- at least without wholly changing templates.
Young Machetes isn't a repudiation of what's come before, as the caterwauling of Johnny Whitney and Jordan Billie still serves as a consistent signature. But they are continuing to forge ahead rather than retrace their steps. Therefore, Young Machetes may alienate anyone jonesing for non-stop insanity; and like its predecessors, it will also almost certainly alienate mainstreamers who like pieces and ideas to neatly fit together -- or who like peace and quiet.
Even when the music crashes ahead at full hardcore force, it retains a sense of whimsy and spontaneity. There's considerable variation between wild opener "Set Fire to the Face on Fire" and the quirky mid-tempo closer, "The Giant Swan." "Camouflage, Camouflage" could end after its first two minutes, a melodic chunk of antsy guitars and shrieked vocals; instead, it abruptly pulls back into an airily sung vocal over a reflective piano line. As also demonstrated in his work in Neon Blonde, Whitney's strengths as a singer aren't limited to yelping, and he can also be quite a cutting (and cryptic) lyricist.
Other songs, like "Rat Rider" and its crazed percussion, stick to the shorter run time, but are still able to veer off in unexpected directions. Likewise, "1, 2, 3, 4 Guitars" starts out sounding like a snappy dance-punk number, then features a few foreboding builds and shrieking crescendos. The sharp turns don't always pay off, and Young Machetes can therefore be a little much to take in a single sitting. But once the fat is trimmed, there is plenty to enjoy. - Adam McKibbin, The Red Alert
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