Get Well Soon

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Most of the press on the L.A. band the Starvations mentions their sonic resemblance to early L.A. punk bands like X, the Gun Club, or the Flesh Eaters. For once you can believe the hype. They have the same rambling sense of drama and abandon that those groups had, the same blend of drunken blues shouting and a strong literary bent. Gabriel Hart's vocals have the same kind of tuneful wildness that Jeffrey Lee Pierce had at his best. In case this all gives you the idea that the group is made up of nothing but very adept copyists, please disregard that notion. The Starvations rise above the level of rip-off artists by writing a strong and exciting batch of songs and by playing them with a fervor that their influences themselves were rarely able to match. Songs like "Red Wine," "Post-Climax Exhaustion," and "An American Funeral" are yowling blasts of emotion and energy that will have you yowling along before you even catch the words. A couple of the songs are a little on the weak side. When the band gets too close to alt-country territory, like on "Rebel Angel," or gets too self-consciously weird, like on the lo-fi blues of "Not Me This Time," they sound slightly generic. On the whole, however, this is a butt-kicking album by a very promising band. Add them to the very short list (Deadly Snakes, the White Stripes, the Starve) of bands making something new and exciting out of their punk/blues/garage roots.

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