Thundering out of the gate with the noise-drenched instrumental "Glue Traps," the 2002 version of the Wobblies is a stronger, meaner unit than their last time out. Where their biggest weakness in the past was their vocals, they improve matters immensely by applying various effects and generally letting Mike Griffon use different voices and sounds. This is a huge improvement on the flat yelping he unleashed on their last album, 1998's I Have Some Language. Everything is tighter this time around; the straight rock tracks are poppier and have more feeling behind them, the angular rockers are more bizarre and moody, everything uses the "more is better" strategy, and it really works. "A Strategy" is the best track here, laying Griffon's vocals over a bouncing bassline and a sliding grunge riff. But halfway through, the song goes totally gonzo, first jumping into a quiet xylophone/guitar breakdown that turns into a noise-fest that sounds like a power drill being taken to the instruments. "Preyer" is a lurching beast that stomps around the track like an angry gorilla, taking occasional breaks into a beautiful guitar breakdown before sliding back into the punchy verses. The title track sounds like Primus being led by Henry Rollins, while "In Your Kitchen" is a creepy twister of a song with a healthy dose of shimmering guitar thrown in here and there. The only real stinker is "Turned Out," which isn't terrible but sounds far too much like Green Jelly for their own good. The Wobblies really stepped up to the plate on this album; they came out of a mediocre album released almost four years before to make a great chunk of indie rock noise. Some may still be turned off by the vocals, but this is a genre that has never prided itself on golden throats. Fans of indie rock should give these guys a listen. They improve from album to album, and this is a huge leap from their previous output.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano