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After a powerhouse, blockbuster LP such as Mush, Leatherface were bound to fall off a bit, and there are indeed fewer places here where the tuneful, roaring overload sends one over the deep edge. Also, Minx fails to progress from its remarkable predecessor. But taken on its own, the fourth LP is still very much a ferocious force to be reckoned with, and when it scales its highest peaks, many songs still pack one f*ck of a wallop (bleep!). It starts off as cranklin' as ever, especially the low, fast, thoughtfully violent "Fat, Earthy, Flirt" (which starts soft and then surges like a light bulb in Uncle Fester's mouth) and an old-time smasher, "Books." As it moves along, Minx sounds a bit too samey, but still sustains the heapin' hooks and super lyrics. A lot of the songs seem ordinary, or not their best, but each has some place -- a chorus, a striking bridge, a well-placed, dramatic buildup -- where it sounds triumphant, or incredibly exciting, so even the lesser tracks have the capacity to flat-out stun, especially the blistering closer "Pale Moonlight," which blows away the previous acoustic version, and the rapid-fire, flowing "Heaven Sent." Yes, it's time this powerful quartet figured out something new to do with its amazing, knockout onslaught, particularly as singer/guitarist Frankie Stubbs keeps finding ways to sound like the only sincere singer in the world through that grotesquely rough voice of his. But even if they never do, it's impossible to take for granted this kind of tuneful, flexible, well-executed pummeling, especially given Stubbs' ability with a lyric pen. Another superb album, as much experience as music.

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