Sex Mad/You Kill Me

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Combining the two releases on one CD, Sex Mad/You Kill Me makes for an edgy, thrashing release that shows the Canadians fully in charge of a frenetic post-punk style seemingly left for dead by many in the late '80s. "Sex Mad" itself calls up memories of everything from the Gang of Four to MX-80 Sound to the Minutemen and back again, and with that as a worthy combination to draw on indeed, the trio goes all out and doesn't stop. It might be a stretch to say that Nomeansno are somehow Rush-influenced, but then again, considering that both sets of Canadians can readily demonstrate their way around sudden time changes (check the instrumental "Obsessed" or the six-minute character portrait "Dead Bob"), it might not be as crazy as all that! Other classic rock nods include a bit from "Sunshine of Your Love" at one point and a full cover of "Manic Depression" from the You Kill Me days (meanwhile, the chorus of "Revenge" is perfectly anthemic stadium rock, and works on that level without a problem). Slightly more straight-up punk efforts crop up -- "Dad," one of the most powerful, sounds like what would happen if the scenario of Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" wasn't just about feeling petulant for lacking a Pepsi, to put it mildly. (Killer end touch -- the baldly delivered line "I'm seriously considering leaving home.") The sometimes hoarse, higher-end singing sounds like what a less annoyed Henry Rollins would be been like in early Black Flag -- or at least, a Rollins one could talk to without immediately being beat on. Thus, a song like "Self Pity," which manages the neat trick of addressing the titular topic without sounding like an example of same -- and by turning into a near-apocalyptic collage of power riff rage.

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