Helios Creed

The Last Laugh

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Switching to the aggro-punk label Amphetamine Reptile might have seemed a slightly odd choice for Creed, but then again, his own brand of in-your-face sonic attacks isn't that far removed from a lot of AmRep fare (and arguably is much better than most). After producing his first two albums himself, Creed worked with Seattle-based legend Jack Endino, who was perfectly sympathetic to Creed's own philosophies of full feedback sound and massive crunch. The end result was a great trip that started to win Creed greater attention among a younger crowd generally unaware of Chrome's work. With a wholly new rhythm section (bassist Daniel House, drummer Jason Finn), Creed set to work with a three-part opening track that included some of the fastest tempos he'd yet worked with. The low burr of the guitars and manic avant-garage soloing, not to mention the expected vocal treatments, show that it's still Creed at the controls. As with much of his past work, while on the one hand he has a clear formula, on the other, he knows how to spike the punch just enough. Thus, the backward-masked weirdness that leads into the suitably calm "The Dream" or ever so slightly dub-touched drums on "Road out of Hell." The rhythm team knows how to lay down the steady, Krautrock-tinged pace that so often helps define Creed's work when called for, while Endino balances sonic oomph with the cryptic, swirling touches that make the music all the more discrete and weird. Once or twice Creed flirts with a more direct style of performing -- "Nirbasion Annasion" has an anthemic build cropping up once or twice amid the steady chug, while "Where the Children Are" actually has him singing about "wishing on a star" -- though in a rather different context.

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