A handful of tracks into local trio Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes' debut, you can't help but wonder, "Who fucked with these guys?" On opener "(1)," guitarist/singer Steve Pike shouts, "I'll write you a love song," then circles back, promising, "I'll bury you in the desert, with a mouth full of sand." Atop fuzzy, post-punk/hardcore, Pike's vocals veer from muttered commands to hoarse howls. A little more than a half hour, most of the nine tracks tend to be slow burns, like the sludgy skuzz on "#B" and "Under the Texas Sun." On "Smoke," crashing cymbals fight through the overwhelming noise from guitars, while "Turning Gears" teems with aggressive high-energy. Thick with sinister imagery and frustration, Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes sears like desert punk, waves of heat burning off the ground in a desolate stretch of Texas as a getaway car whizzes past an oil refinery skyline, carnage aflame in the rearview mirror.
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