Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Sept. 3, 2004
The Arm(Last Gasp) The Arm is not a side project. Yes, This Microwave World frontman Sean "Oh-No" O'Neal begot the Arm, and TMW drummer Kevin Bybee keeps the dance beats steady with both bands, but the Arm is strong, poignant, and formed before TMW. The latter band almost disbanded earlier this year in hopes of the Arm's success in NYC, but fortunately, the musicians are still toiling here in the Austin heat. Recorded straight through in the course of seven hours, the Arm's 25-minute debut is, well, "A collusion of everything you want to hear" ("Song Automatic 1-2-3"). It's apocalyptic pop, a too-short intermingling of dance and noise rock. Opener "You're a Winner" introduces Fugazi to Television with Mr. Oh-No's chants; The Arm is mantras and hollers, nary a note is sung. TMW shines through on "Get Down With the Death of the City" but only through its Fall echoes. While each track is blatantly reminiscent of some post-punk fixture or another, they still resound beautifully today. "We are bright young men, and you know us," O'Neal reminds us. The perfection of "Song Automatic" is just as much in its texture as its lyrics: "Good artists make, and great artists steal," admits O'Neal. The MBV-esque layers in closer "Give Up While You're Young" only reiterate what O'Neal already knows. "We love originality," and we're not afraid to use what we love.