The Stuff

Pick It Up, Pig Boy

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Let's get this out of the way up front: the members of Swedish garage rockers the Stuff conceal their identities behind giant rubber rat heads. (They claim to have met in the European sewer system.) Beyond that, however, the Stuff play a brand of drop-dead cool, hooky garage rock/punk that belies their whimsical attitude toward identity. You can hear a lot of Fun House-era Stooges here, but the Stuff ply their craft with a little more laid-back insouciance than those godfathers of the genre; the lead singer/bassist (listed simply as "the rat in the leather jacket") often drops epithets like he's too cool to care, more Damon Albarn than Iggy Pop. It's an effect that works well when pinned up against the fat, tuneful guitar-fuzz of "the rat in the orange T-shirt." The rats also toss a stew of other influences into their primitive garage rock blend. "Pl-Pl-Please" -- a breakout single, if there is one -- finds the band borrowing liberally (and successfully) from T. Rex, while "Your Libido" has a twangy, minimal guitar figure reminiscent of early Devo. "Knock Knock" is probably the most infectious tune of the bunch, a perfect example of the band's blend of willful, brutal simplicity and sharply melodic smarts.

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