Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Feb. 4, 2005
Rehab (Emperor Jones)
Anybody familiar with the drunken riot that is Rusted Shut might suggest that their appeal is limited. On the contrary, anybody with more than a passing interest in distortion would be amazed at the oversaturated, rumbling filth these Houstonian transients cajole from their amps. Rehab is the sophomore album nearly 10 years in the making, but when Don Walsh sheds blood on the altar during "Jesus Christ Inca," it feels like a long-lost scripture from a bloodthirsty antediluvian civilization. Walsh continually belts out meth-and-moonshine-fueled vocals on the verge of a blood-coughing breakup. "End Is Near (Veranda)" in particular is over-the-top beyond belief. Crank it up to 12 for four minutes so harsh and gripping they make the actual apocalypse seem like a picnic. Tacked on to eight scalding tracks from a 2003 CD-R is a quartet of newer tracks that find Walsh's voice treated with Gibby Haynes-style distortion. These numbers hold a higher treble quotient, with bassist Sibyl Chance and drummer Domokos Benczedi deviating slightly from their crowbar-on-concrete methodology. It's a nice respite from the low end, and a great setup for live closer "Borin Fuckin Town," in which the Shut pay tribute to their beloved hometown by coaxing sickly squeals from their molested instruments as Walsh shouts out to HTX. Is it the humidity, urban decay, syrup, or Roger Clemens that birthed this 18-year-old Houston institution? Hard to say, but in an OC-approved indie-rock landscape of pap, Rusted Shut is a necessary enema of absolute conviction and ridiculous intensity.