I like comedians covering dog shows because they make jokes about pedigrees while the judges—in all seriousness and concentration—cup a dog’s balls or stick their fingers in its mouth to reveal scary fangs. I sometimes feel like that when describing a new band formed from older ones, it’s like I’m comparing their muscle and chops against their previous efforts and doing a mental tally against the genre (or breed, to keep stretching an analogy) as a whole. For example: Dan Yemin’s on bass. Dan’s been (and is once again in the reformed) Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and Paint It Black. His string work is like a whip with a bit of candy at the end: a sweet, stinging, distinctive laceration. Atom Goren’s on guitar and singing. Atom’s probably most known for his one-man band, Atom and His Package, but he was also in a hardcore band, Fracture. Atom can make a song about his pancreas and turn it into an urgent singalong. Not easy. Mike McKee was the guy screamer (as opposed to the lady screamer) in Kill The Man Who Questions and he’s the yin to Atom’s yang; a bit more Philly steel and concrete, and that provides a nice balance. Jeff Ziga’s also in Affirmative Action Jackson and he continues to be both tasteful and bashing drummer. So, Armalite, a probably-won’t-tour, Sunday-practicing supergroup doesn’t equal a mutt, and comes out as a barking, lean, evenly balanced, nicely coated, precisely-what-they-wanted band that put out a really good album.
–todd (No Idea)