Big Black

Bulldozer

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Bulldozer makes Lungs seem like a mere opening of the gates. Original Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango gets added to the lineup, and NR vocalist Jeff Pezzatti adds bass, giving the second EP a thicker, more brutal thrust than the essentially all-Steve Albini debut. The first 30 seconds of opener "Cables" is the first true unleashing of Albini's industrial power guitar, sounding little like the instrument that it is. Influenced by Gang of Four's Andy Gill and Public Image Limited's Keith Levene, Albini's noisy scrapes are just as riveting as his precursors, given extra accent by Durango's more rhythmic screeching. "Cables" and "Pigeon Kill," like a fair amount of Albini's lyrical points of reference throughout his career, involve boredom and how people attempt to curb it. Two options include hanging out at a slaughterhouse or, well, killing pigeons. Hopefully, the rampant misogyny of "I'm a Mess" wasn't taken literally as inspiration by anyone -- a good example of how Albini's first-person character sketches could get him into trouble. The intense rockabilly of "Texas" (one of the rare instances where live drumming takes place) deserves to be covered by the Reverend Horton Heat or Brian Setzer in a non-swing moment. Lumpen tempos and lack of direction on a couple songs prevent Bulldozer from being regarded amongst the band's later works, but credit that to a still-apparent working out of the kinks. A newly formed alliance with engineer extraordinaire Iain Burgess proves helpful. [Bulldozer was later issued on CD as part of The Hammer Party, originally on Homestead and later on Touch & Go. It was also reissued in its own vinyl version.]

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