Faceless Werewolves

Medium Freaky

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The debut album by Austin's Faceless Werewolves is a scrappy set of punky indie rock tunes suggesting a strong Sonic Youth and Superchunk influence both in the evenly divided vocals (all three members, guitarists Baldomero Valdez and Kelsey Wickliffe, and drummer Erica Barton, sing) and in their unapologetic fondness for fuzztone, feedback, and weird noises. Oddly tuned opening track "Elevation" goes the furthest in declaring guitar-hero fealty to Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, but even that song is based on a straightforward, catchy pop song structure. Even at its freakiest -- that would be the twisted Paisley Underground psych-rock wigginess of "Pegasus Versus the Unicorn" -- Medium Freaky stays true to its title: things occasionally threaten to get seriously weird, but they never quite do. (Case in point: that song segues effortlessly into the completely straightforward indie rock buzz of "I Tried to Love You.") The blend of texture and hooks is admittedly nothing particularly new, but there's an undeniable sense of pure rock & roll swagger to songs like "My Weakness" and "One Arm Man" that keeps Medium Freaky from becoming merely a colorless genre exercise. In fact, it's a genuinely fun and encouraging debut.

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