The Buttertones

Gravedigging

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The Innovative Leisure debut from the scrappy Southern California-based surf-punk unit, Gravedigging sees the Buttertones delivering a nervy set of sordid, West Coast garage bangers that are as socially deviant as they are sonically familiar. With the exception of the requisite "Teen Angel"-style high school dance ballad "I Ran Away," every track shimmies and shakes and convulses and twists, touching on every facet of the grindhouse aural milieu with mad precision. "Neon Cowboy," with its wordless group vocals and clangy spring reverb, uses Spaghetti Western Morricone as its template, while fiery lead single "Sadie's a Sadist" is pure Bad Music for Bad People-era Cramps with a little Frog Eyes tossed in for good measure. That the majority of Gravedigging is relegated to screaming sax/plectrum-shredding rave-ups and greaser anthems like "Moroccan Mansion" and "Two-Headed Shark" is hardly a dealbreaker, as each blast from the past arrives back to the future with supreme gusto, but like their West Coast contemporaries in sonic ambivalence, Parquet Courts, it can sometimes be hard to separate the art from the artifice.

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