Twelve Point Buck

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Having carved out its own particular furrow of death by this point, destruction and tongue-piercing-cheek-wall black humor, on Twelve Point Buck Killdozer didn't so much relax a bit as start to grind the wheels. There are some great moments, it has to be said, but for the most part they're musical ones, as the band, especially Bill Hobson, start to stretch out in more directions than before. At the same time, the members can't leave their sound too far behind them, and the result sometimes is a compromise. When Killdozer's on, though, they're on fire. "New Pants and Shirt" is actually a brilliant smashing together of huge noise, rhythm crunch, and psychedelic soloing, Hobson making his guitar as strung out as possible. The immediately following "Space 1999" is just as incredible, Gerald's drawling sleaze-Elvis, the queasy, stiff funk (if there is such a thing) of the music a stentorian crawl to the grave. Butch Vig at the very least makes everything sound as huge and crushing as all the band's work has been in the past, but perhaps goes too over the top here -- more variety would have helped in the end. Gerald sneaks in some sly literary references again, at the least -- Flannery O'Connor is specifically name-checked on the horn-touched sort-of tribute "Lupus" -- while the inclusion of a snippet of a farm report at one point seems like an all-too-appropriate touch. As for a song about Irwin Allen films called "Man Vs. Nature" that ruminates on the question of justice in a cold universe and how Charlton Heston is "just a ham" -- well, why not? In another change, meanwhile, every song is an original -- then again, the original single-only release of For Ladies Only from the previous year may well have killed their appetite for that at the time.

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