The Deviltones

Riding the High Horse

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    5
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The Deviltones' debut album mines the same proto-punk garage sound as similar recent acts like the Datsuns or the Forty-Fives: noisy guitars, snotty vocals, sullen lyrics, and the idea that these guys probably know every song on the first 20 volumes of the Pebbles anthology by heart. "I gotta gun/I'm on the run" is close to the sum total of the lyrics of the 90-second "I Gotta Gun," set to a hurtling fuzztone riff that sounds like the MC5 jacked on espresso. It's admirable that the Deviltones stay so true to their three-chord ideals, but not only does Riding the High Horse not bring anything new to the retro-punk party -- innovation would be rather missing the point -- the Virginia-based band never does anything particularly interesting with its influences. While the Deviltones are undoubtedly tons of fun to see live, preferably in a dive bar with cheap beer, Riding the High Horse lacks personality.

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