Collisions (Monofonus Press)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 20, 2015
No second-salvo stumble for this ulcerative Austin post-punk quartet. Collisions lives up to its title by unleashing one curiously bent sonic skeleton after another, fomenting a steam-heated mix of unrest and exhilaration. Roots stretching back more than a decade to when the belligerents were still juveniles, the Ghouls' yowling performance aesthetic taps clear antecedents in local scuzz-punk. The distressed structure of their short/sharp bursts nevertheless bears a closer relationship to first-wave Cleveland exports like the Pagans and Electric Eels. Breakneck opener "Teeth" twists a sinewy guitar repetition around a hybrid surf/hardcore beat as group leader Corey Anderson soliloquizes like a chemical-huffing teen messiah. The LP's longest song, "Hezbollah," tops out at 3:20. The extended length momentarily allows the contagious spastic rhythm to take precedence and induce highway hypnosis before "Row" summons baseball bats to punch clocks with slug-paced industrial malaise.