Schwa

Nine Days Out of Prison

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    6
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Congregating between post-punk and industrial (two things Chicago has excelled at for more than a decade), this quartet recollect that time in the early '80s when guitar bands with malice/menace on their mischievous minds discovered that dance beats don't always mean slick disco. Like a less streamlined Curve, "On the Sun" (the best here) and others utilize synths and samples, but still rely on a cranky guitar hiss like an ill wind, hovering over the hypnotic bass/drums floor-shaking. While this style and sound aren't new (remember early March Violets, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Sisters of Mercy, and their U.S. counterparts?), and attempts at more pacific pop fail to convince ("Whipping Song"), and the singing on the title track is bad Jim Kerr; Schwa's edge, their hooks, and their contrary guitar contempt beat standard alterna-product.