Mahogany Brain

Smooth Sick Lights

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Influenced by the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat and Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, Mahogany Brain were a free-form avant-rock band from Paris, France. Smooth Sick Lights speeds up the energy a couple of notches from their first record, With/When, especially on the amphetamine rush of tracks like the "Sister Ray"-inspired "Purple Overdose" and "Green Winter of Revolvers," originally used as a soundtrack for a film by Mahogany Brain's leader, Michel Bulteau. Guitars, bass, and drums literally pound out rough-hewn songs, full of edgy texture and Bulteau's unprofessional singing, which comes off somewhere between Lou Reed's jaded deadpan and Jad Fair's naïve warbles. At times, the group creates guitar textures that sound a bit like Sonic Youth at their least tuneful, droning and rumbling in similar detuned fashion, especially on the long bonus track, "Burning the Vibes," whereas other times they point toward the No Wave groups from New York, or even punk with their D.I.Y.-style unprofessional playing.

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