Combine

History of American Rock and Roll

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Released in 1996, this second Caroline release from Combine improves upon the band's richly adventurous debut. Leading the group's charge is vocalist/guitarist Brian Pafumi, whose unmistakable voice and guitar combination are a rare musical and artistic punk accomplishment. Joining Pafumi on The History of American Rock and Roll are musicians Juan T. Corbett (drums) and Xavier D. Lewis (bass). Nice instrumental sections on "Big Disappointment" and "Robert Poss (American Guitar Hero)" punctuate Combine's brand of punk that could best be described as mature and dynamic. Angular to the point of being progressive, Combine's riffs exude originality without losing their punk directness or a certain listenability. The only low point on this disc is the Billy Corgan-esque ballad "Mudpie" that's severely out of place with its acoustic strumming and whining melodies. Fortunately, the group slams right back into action with "Attrition," and except for the one foray into modern rock soul searching, this release offers nothing but aggressive, smart music that's hard to categorize but easy to listen to.

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