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Suplex Review

by Ned Raggett

The cartoon wrestling/boxing championship belt on the front cover says "heavy metal" boldly and without apology, and, on the band's second album, Karp does its damnedest to live up to such a claim. And it does -- hearing these songs makes many pretenders to the throne seem like the weak-ass cheese they are. Karp may have their indie background fully intact -- who wouldn't, with releases on K Records? -- but they know how to rock, or, perhaps more appropriately, rawk! Their lyrics are knowing demolitions of star machinery and general idiocy; to quote some sample lines roared at loud volume: "Bronson day, bail that hay!/I'm going to Hollywood!" and "grimace while we beat you up! Hey man, check out my zine!" But it wouldn't mean anything without the guitars and bass sounding so sludgy that Black Sabbath might complain, and without the great, fist-pumping feeling that Karp effortlessly creates. Part of the trick is the trio's way around strutting grooves -- check out "Connect 5" and the way both the music and the gang-shouted lyrics work for booty-shaking (the handclaps are there for a reason!). Add in such merry madness as the stuttering martial beats and slabs of feedback on "Lorch-Miller" (appropriate lyric here: "hut 1 2, salute you/wait for a cadence that seems just familiar to walk to") and the grinding punch of "See You at Lakefair" and things get even more ridiculously great. Meanwhile, moments like the instrumental break on "Shotzie" are pure epic metal shout-at-the-sky fun, all thick and chunky and gloriously huge. If more grunge was like this in the end instead of refried classic rock for junior-league stoners with newly purchased flannel, maybe the early to mid-'90s wouldn't have been so problematic.

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