On TV, photogenic mall punks play poppy eighth-rate Descendents retreads, wear casting central clothes, and affect artificial snarls. On Vans Warp tours, endless shorthair sound-alikes cling to an ancient manual so restrictive, it makes Paint by Numbers look like freeform jazz. But in greater D.C., smart kids have spent decades hunting the elusive places where hard indie rock meets hardcore's abrasive conflagration. Count this Northern Virginia band among the hottest making that quest. With three guitars (and four singers), the sophomore Drescher is a rapid-fire, twisting post-punk guitar fest with few current parallels. Harem go beyond emo, staking a rocketing-harsh place between Chapel Hill's Archers of Loaf and Louisville's Squirrel Bait -- meatier, louder, more hellish than the former, and more in control than the latter. If this was on granddaddy Dischord, they'd be a buzz band of 2008; as it is, they blast circles around 100 better-knowns.
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid