Bullet Train to Vegas

We Put Scissors Where Our Mouths Are

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Imagine if Gang of Four bore the alien two-headed baby of XTC, then imagine that they gave the baby up for adoption and it was raised by Sweep the Leg Johnny. That baby would inevitably grow up and form a band, and the band would probably sound quite a bit like Bullet Train to Vegas. For all of their obvious influences, Bullet Train to Vegas has a surprisingly mature and fully realized sound, as well as the kind of manic energy that can make up for any number of weaknesses. Though they're not a math rock band in any meaningful sense of the word, they somehow manage to make 4/4 sound like 7/8 on a regular basis: try counting along with "RFLCTR BTZ" and "Feeding God to the Lions" and you'll be surprised how easy it turns out to be. "Removing Ground" flirts with actual melody (all the other songs are more screeched and squawked than sung), and "Some Goodbyes Last Forever" appropriates a classic Motown drum trope and uses it to advance the band's own bizarro sonic agenda. But the album's best track is "Fashion the New Black," an airtight, almost claustrophobic ode to...well, something. Cocaine? Suicide? Haute couture? It's hard to say. Recommended.

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