The Gamma Rays

Split Personality

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Split Personality, a rousing split release from D.C.'s Beatville, brings together two promising young bands from the area, Gamma Rays and High School Hellcats, both of whom contribute five songs. With a lively, melody-driven punk revivalist sound, the Gamma Rays' touchstones include the Ramones and Descendents, and also bear a hooky resemblance to Screeching Weasel. The succinct and sugary, yet equally hard-hitting and raucous "Bleeding Heart" is a highlight, as is the rapid-fire "Sell Your Soul," which grafts melody onto a vintage hardcore gait. For their part, the High School Hellcats deserve props for bringing back the band theme song. "High School Hellcats" introduces the Baltmore band's accelerated, snotty punk. Vocalist/guitarist Melissa rants and raves over the relentless bottom end (the Ramones' force is strong here, too), and her mates chime in with bratty background vocals that suggest what it might sound like if Rizzo and her Pink Ladies started a tough rock band. Things just get more ragged as the Hellcats' songs play out; "I Wish I Was a Robot" and "Double Down" fly off the page in full color -- they're like pulp fiction novels given life by punk rhythms.

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