X27

Your Neu Favourite Band

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None of X27's members were alive in 1931, but they get their name from Marlene Dietrich's character in the 1931 film Dishonored (which starred the German actress/singer as an Austrian prostitute turned spy -- Agent X27 was the character's code name). However, the Chicago-based trio's debut album, Your Neu Favourite Band, doesn't sound anything like the cabaret and traditional pre-rock/pop that Dietrich performed; this trio's specialty is a jagged, noisy, distorted, very punk-minded style of alternative rock. X27's sound -- arguably a combination of Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and various no-wave artists of the '80s -- is definitely on the discordant side. But for all their distortion, X27 bring a strong sense of groove to this 2003 release. They bring the noise (to borrow a phrase from Public Enemy), but they also realize the value of a strong hook. In fact, tracks like "Me," "Fast Getaway," and "Asthmatic" are immediately infectious; while X27 are rough and abrasive, they aren't inaccessible. Your Neu Favourite Band favors the sort of male/female vocal juxtaposition that worked well for punk/post-punk combo X in the early '80s -- bassist Exene Cervenka is the female lead singer, while guitarist John Doe is the male lead singer. And whether Cervenka or Doe is singing, unapologetic rawness prevails. By 2003 standards, Your Neu Favourite Band isn't groundbreaking -- anyone who was heavily into punk, no-wave and alternative rock back in the '80s will hear this CD and say, "been there, done that." But if Your Neu Favourite Band is derivative, it is enjoyably derivative -- and X27's members are obviously having a good time on this noteworthy debut.

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