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Oblivians

Desperation (In the Red)

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Sept. 6, 2013

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Oblivians

Desperation (In the Red)

The Oblivians' catalog set the standard great garage-punk albums get measured against. From 1993-97, the lo-fi trio – Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright, Jack Yarber, and Goner Records founder Eric Friedl, each sharing duties on guitar and drums – cut three LPs of rabid R&B about guitar-shop assholes and Memphis creeps. Following a brief return in 2012, the band's comeback, cut at Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio, stumbles back into the fray like a high school dropout at a 20-year reunion. While not nearly as brash or baiting as 1996 essential Popular Favorites, Yarber's junkyard boogie "Run for Cover," greaser ballad "Little War Child," and Friedl's "Woke Up in a Police Car" at least live up to that title. Throw in a pair of scorching covers – the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's "Loving Cup" and zydeco rap "Call the Police," with organist Mr. Quintron – and a couple new Cartwright classics ("Em," "Come a Little Closer") and Desperation's well worth the inevitable hangover.

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