No Empathy

You're So Smart

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While the media endlessly trumpets a non-existent "Chicago sound" -- what really connects the over-hyped Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, and Urge Overkill other than similar zip codes? -- actual denizens of the place possessing a memory know the true Chicago sound was forged in the early/mid '80s, by the well-missed likes of Effigies, Naked Raygun, Strike Under, Big Black, Bloodsport, Breaking Circus, Defoliants, etc. And any band that boasts that era's Chuck Uchida on guitar is going to serve us up an updated dose. Sure enough, the veteran No Empathy know that chops and edge are key if one is to make in-your-face punk sound current, then as now. On tracks such as "Sandwich," "I Know a Thing or Two," and the take-no-prisoners "Machiavelli Me," Marc Ruvolo's tough no-nonsense vocal delivery and the band's heavy drive brings back all you liked about those older bands. The songwriting as a whole could come up a notch so as to join that halcyon strata, but the sound/words/guts/power is there, and that counts for a lot, in Chicago and out.

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