Cut It!

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There's a knowingness to the opening song on Blurt's first album in 13 years being called "Once More," because from its squalling start, Ted Milton's screeching sax work over a brisk rhythm section charge and his intonation of the title with a hint of a leer (or is it a sneer?), find the band very much at it again, doing what it does best. Blurt out of step nature is evident at the beginning of most of its albums, pegging the band as neither fish nor fowl, and one suspects Milton wouldn't have it any other way. Like so many bands that have found both their earlier and new work reissued by LTM Recordings, Blurt sound happily energized, with Milton's eye and ear for aggressive absurdities and his own vision of the world clearly intact. The title track, with his invocations of everything from classical myth to French to the sharp slice of the title phrase itself, couldn't be more perfectly suited for the full body slam of David Aylward's rhythms. While Milton's saxophone parts have long defined the band as readily heard on tracks like "Hat," it's a testament to the strength of the group's newest incarnation that it's not the sole musical factor of note; if anything, it almost feels like a cameo-instrument appearance in comparison to the tight, brisk arrangements driven by the drums. Other similar stand-out moments include the watery, nervous blend of roiling percussion and swirling, aggressive electronic tones on "Pure Scenario," a suitable bed for Milton's stop-start delivery, and the speaker-switching guitar break on "Plunge." These make the slow-paced flow of "Gerbera" that much more enjoyably surprising -- it's almost Blurt in dub, thanks to the dreamily slow guitar and sax parts, not to mention all the echo -- and perhaps only Milton could make a song called "Minibar" sound ominous and quirky all at once.

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