Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip

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Athens, GA duo Jucifer's debut album, Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip, draws on the grungy noise of early alternative metal -- think of bands like the Jesus Lizard, Helmet, or the Melvins -- and the loud, trashy, sometimes industrial-tinged scuzz-rock that preceded it (Big Black, Pussy Galore, early Royal Trux), plus an ample helping of goth-rock melodrama. It's a sound not many bands were exploring as the end of the '90s approached, which is why it will seem refreshing to listeners who don't like the directions alternative metal has taken in achieving mass popularity. Calling All Cars isn't just aimless noise banged out for obnoxiousness' sake; there are discernable riffs and hooks throughout, although they're more angular than catchy, requiring several listens to sink in. Unlike some of their influences, Jucifer doesn't spend the entire album in attack mode; there are some slower, more textured tracks that allow lead vocalist Amber Valentine to display her less aggressive side as well. There are some slow spots where the album gets too dirgey, but overall, it's an intriguing and promising debut.

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