Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012
Crooked Bangs(Western Medical)
Despite working in the familiar medium of dark-hearted post-punk, Crooked Bangs leaves no room for spot-the-influence on its debut LP. The youthful Austin trio's succession of melodic wallops land at breakneck speed, conjuring breathless, back-alley excitement too immediate to succumb to nostalgia. The upfront delineator is vocalist/bassist Leda Celeste Ginestra, who sings like she discovered punk in the catacombs of a Parisian cabaret. Alternating between French and English lyrics, Ginestra brings uncommon depth and richness to macabre depictions of blood castles and flesh-ripping wolves. At the same time, she's quick to morph into guttural, Linda Blair-style screeching when the song demands it. Guitarist Samantha Wendel cuts the clutter in favor of finding the perfect surf-goth tone, while drummer Phillip Gonzalez plows through the anxious night like a pepped-up trucker. Although the oblivion-courting "Brains" climaxes with the refrain, "No more hope/Nothing left but a joke," there's not a truly downbeat number in this bunch.