Dragons Power Up!

Brace for the Bloom

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On their sophomore LP, St. Paul's Dragons Power Up! continue with their curious post-rock from This Way to Gunshire. Songs such as the tense, knifing "House Fires" feature sharp, jagged, angular guitar lines that hearken back to Gang of Four's first two albums of white funk, with a nod to older avant-garde like Captain Beefheart -- although the vocal melodies are more pop based than such antecedents (more like Songs of the Free-era Gang of Four or early Brian Eno). Others like the harsher "Nickels" approach the precise engine sputtering and atonal joys of Mission of Burma, with discordant, incongruous harmonica. No matter the track, the rhythm section is wound tight like a fishing spool, leaving the guitars free to stick and run, stab and jab, or power riff like Generation X's Derwood Andrews on "Orbit Dance." Brace for the shards.

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