The Bomb


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Jeff Pezzatti is back! And though Naked Raygun devotees will disagree, his new trio is more exciting that the last, much disparaged (actually underrated, but clearly lesser) Raygun lineup circa 1990. The Bomb is the perfect relaunch for a well-missed, imaginative writer/frontman. Though the singer retains his beloved tricks, such as the "ahhhhhhhhhhhh" and "ohhhhhhhh" vocals cooking in the background of "Burn It All," this is no retread. It's less dependent on John Haggerty's (or Bill Stephens') thick wall-of-sound guitar, traded for a more zinging, stabbing, electric six-string sound full of razor sharpness (from new prodigy John Maxwell, an effulgent new find in the post-punk guitar sweepstakes). Pezzatti himself is back on bass, a position he manned in the earliest lineup of Big Black and not since, yet his dexterity remains unchanged in 14 years -- furious fingers, in fact. Drummer Paul Garcia is more of a patient, cymbal-smacking anchor than Eric Spicer's wonderfully impetuous rushes. And the material has less of a punkish pop sense; it has the same melodic hooks, only with more catchy, infectious chord patterns, less dependent on just a couple of chords blitzed through your spleen like a jackhammer. The new group opened for the Damned in their home Chicago, fitting since Raygun did likewise in 1983. The headliners, much as I love them, relied on past glories. The openers have brand new ones. This is an impressive three-song start, as reinvigorated as John Travolta's acting career in the '90s. (6008 S. Harlem Ave., Summit, IL 60501;

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