Short of Popular (Sonic Surgery)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Oct. 26, 2018
Initially released by homegrown label Trance Syndicate in 1996, this odds-and-sods collection arrived not long after Cherubs disintegrated in the wake of high-water mark Heroin Man. Now that the Austin noise-rock trio has reunited, Short of Popular plays as more than a lament for what might have been. Recorded at Sweatbox Studio in a dilapidated Downtown building owned by the man Dick Cheney shot in the face, these 13 tracks strip the band's brutal cohesion down to its essence. 1993 single "Carjack Fairy," later covered by Red Fang and Triac, embodies the tension between skull-boring rumble and the high-pitched yowls of guitarist/vocalist Kevin Whitley. The strength of Heroin Man cast-asides "Orange Julius" and "Dazy" testifies to the prolificacy of the band's early Nineties throughput. A Diddley-esque rendition of "I Want Candy" and postapocalyptic lounge take on Sinatra's "How Little We Know" garnish fulmination with levity.