The Wayward

Overexposure

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Virginia trio the Wayward's second album brings back fond memories of acts like the Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and Killdozer for those who were around for the first incarnation of this deliberately antagonistic brand of post-hardcore noise rock. Back in the late '80s, it was dubbed by some long-forgotten scenester/journalist type as "pigf*ck," a genre tag that proved to have an unsurprisingly short half-life, but a basic description of it is hardcore punk filtered backward through both no wave noise and the aggressive side of '70s progressive rock à la King Crimson. That's also a handy summation of the sound of Overexposure, a record built on the powerhouse drumming of Nathaniel Simms and the alternately heavy riffing and abstract noisemaking tendencies of guitarist/singer Nick Skrobiz and his bassist brother, Jesse Skrobiz. Though there are occasional moments approaching lyricism (much of the instrumental "Peacock," for example, or the calm-before-the-storm intro to "Neutral Observer"), most of Overexposure consists of shouted/howled vocals over tricky guitar and bass parts that tend to shift time signatures with gleeful abandon. In other words, fans of the style have fundamentally already heard most of what the Wayward do on Overexposure, though the occasional unexpected curve ball like the woozy, bad-trip vibe of the freakout opener "Live in a Vacuum" or the found-sound documentary recording that opens the impassioned "Detective Story" manages to keep things unsettled enough to be interesting.

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