Poster Children

New World Record

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    8
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Poster Children returned to independent-label life with little worry and everything to gain, having constructed their own studio and still keeping together the strong lineup with Howie Kantoff on drums for the third straight album, a band record. With the jaunty, if still threatening enough, album-opener "Accident Waiting to Happen" letting Kantoff show off his drumming skills (as well as Rick Valentin flaunting his ever-more-enjoyable singing, even if he gets a bit screechy at the end), New World Record shows that the quartet still has the fire and the fun. The bandmembers produced themselves and came up with any number of great moments song per song: the shivering guitar texture on "6 x 6," the creepy melodies of "Time to Kill," and the goofy voices on "Secret Handshake." The latter is more than a little reminiscent of Funkadelic, and there definitely is a funk feel throughout much of New World Record, a fine direction. Kantoff's drumming is perhaps the best revelation; there's a just-loose-enough edge in his work that balances out the focused intensity of the band while letting the songs breathe a little bit more. Check out his work on "Mr. Goodnight" (there's even a brief drum solo) and the well-groovy "Good Cop Bad Cop," in particular, for some fun. There's both massive rock stomp a-plenty (the perhaps Earth, Wind & Fire-referencing "Ankh" is another funk nod as well, like the Edgar Winter Group doing much better on "Frankenstein" than expected) and quick, burrowing numbers like "Straightline" that sound like they're on the verge of major explosions. "6 x 6" has one of the band's best, most immediate choruses; "Planet Earth" has nothing to do with Duran Duran but is just about as danceable (Rose Marshack's bass does the business on the verses); while "Deadman" provides a calm comedown to end the album nicely.

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