CKY

Carver City

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

CKY are smarter than they're given credit for being. So is Bam Margera, but the band's (at this point tenuous) connection to him keeps some quarters from hearing the actual music, preferring to think of the band as knuckle-dragging skate-metal. Well, Carver City is about as far from that as it's possible to be. Moog synths get as much space in the mix as loud guitars, and drummer Jess Margera frequently plays rhythms that owe more to early-'80s new wave-inflected arena prog (think Rush's Signals, or Asia) than hardcore or stoner rock. Granted, there are some seriously heavy riffs here, on tracks like "Woe Is Me" and "...And She Never Returned," and hooks aplenty -- "Rats in the Infirmary" will stick in a listener's head for days. "A#1 Roller Rager" has a riff Fu Manchu would kill for, with a hypnotically bizarre synth sound and a chorus that makes it sound like an alternate-universe soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But a track like "Plagued by Images," which sounds like a cross between some of Brant Bjork's weirder solo experiments and Gary Numan, plus bludgeoning guitar riffs, simply has no place in a tiresome contemporary rock landscape that still hasn't gotten over grunge. These guys aren't heavy enough to be considered metal, and they're too weird to get much radio play, without being noisy or random enough to appeal to Mars Volta or Animal Collective fans. By being smart and unique, they're putting themselves in a tough spot, commercially. Good for them.

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