Double Dagger

Masks

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AllMusic Review by

Double Dagger came into their own in 2009 when Thrill Jockey, their new label, helped to ensure them the freedom to explore their artistic side. Being graphic designers in their off-time, Bruce Willen and singer Nolen Strals took full advantage of their art pedigrees in designing the following year’s Masks EP. Issued in an assortment of possible CD covers (including a metallic-inked S&M mask, a werewolf mask, and a Mexican wrestling mask) and as colored vinyl (available by joining Thrill Jockey's 7” club), the design is stunningly simple -- and the music is just as much so. The EP picks up where More left off, with the trio forcefully rocking through a raw five-song set. Raunchy bass tones and a flurry of cymbal crashes set the stage for a one-two-three punch of severely furious but catchy songs. “Sleeping with the TV On” shows off their control over dynamics, accelerating from a slow drudge to a Black Flag shout-fest, and the set ends with a gentle bass instrumental that fights its way against static scrapes. While the songs aren’t quite up to the caliber of More, which was a perfect showing of flawed, feedback-laden singles, Masks serves as an excellent counterpart. You could even think of it as the best B-sides from Double Dagger's best album.

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