I Name You Destroyer

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Once again Jucifer defies the odds as a duo by unleashing a mountain of passionate sound with strong punk references as well as several intriguing departures from the style. Snarling guitars dominate, but examples of inventive arrangement and delicate shading breathe space into the noise. Even without the luxury of overdubbing, Jucifer blows down the walls; tracks like "Fight Song" document something close to the energy of their live shows, with nothing up their sleeves but drums, strings, and Amber Valentine's larynx-ripping vocals. There's variety in these tracks too; "Dissolver" explodes after a furious sprint and as the sonic wreckage crumbles a dreamlike dirge emerges, in effect marking the triumph of hallucination over fury in this particularly psychotic lyric. Further contrast is provided by "Firefly," whose bongo-popping opener briefly casts a beatnik spell before morphing into a contemporary urban lust song, with Valentine's voice whispering like a flower in a desolate vacant lot. "Undertow" is the only self-indulgence on the album; its tedious riff and autodidactic finale may work on-stage, but it only proves the point here that in the studio Jucifer excels at smaller scales. In fact, few artists get as much mileage from effects as minimal as the vibraphone/sleigh bells vamp at the end of "Black Satin, White Ice," which only makes it more clear how intensity and creativity will trump big-bucks production every time.

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