Alice Donut

Three Sisters [Bonus Video]

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Eschewing the unabashed sonic weirdness that defined their earlier efforts (and even to some extent 1993's decidedly more commercial Pure Acid Park) for a more straight-ahead, guitar-driven hardcore sound, New Jersey punk rock misfits Alice Donut return to the fray with an effort that -- despite being their most accessible release to date -- still manages to shine in comparison to the majority of anemic post-millennial punk efforts. The first four tracks on the disc seem a mere warm-up for the surreal antics of "Running Arms in the Philipines," and while the remainder of Three Sisters certainly doesn't show the band lacking energy (as evidenced with the heavy-rolling single "Helsinki") it most certainly marks a departure from the unique instrumentation that has defined much of their work. If longtime fans hungering for the former glories of The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children and the preceding efforts are dismayed that drummer Stephen Moses' signature trombone is virtually nowhere to be found on Three Sisters, they can at least take solace in the fact that lead singer Tomas Antona's familiar outlandish vocal and lyrical skills are still the focal point of the music, serving as the pinkeye of the Alice Donut hurricane. Even if it does ultimately feel much less playful -- and perhaps a bit more predictable -- than their previous releases, weirdness just seems to come naturally to Alice Donut, and that alone is enough to set them apart from the pack and make the album worth checking out.

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