BLACK COUGAR SHOCK UNIT: Self-titled: CDEP

Another tough review. I know this band’s pedigree. The core is Alex Ulloa – Panthro UK United 13 and House on Fire (if you need barns to burn, or do a lineup of who your best friends are, put Sound of a Gun on. Whoever remains has passed that test properly). It’s Alex’s dominant voice and guitar work that punctuate this CD. That’s the good news. The voice is still commanding. The lyrics still penetrate like the smell of gas and the flinting sound of a lighter (“bring out the dead who fill your head”). The bad news is that gone are the intricate rumblings inside the volcano. Gone are Jimmy the Truth’s bass troublings. Gone are the Didjits by way of Florida swamps drumming. It almost sounds like a band that hasn’t gelled completely yet, or is structured completely around Alex, by design. It’s definitely not ass, but it’s also not the carpet bombing similar to the Plane of Jars I was crossing my fingers for. Perhaps it’s because the musicians play more as soloists instead of in gang tackles. Perhaps “I Claim This One in the Name of France” sounds unfinished, when I’ve come to expect complete universes with the folks involved with this CD. I’m still listening to it. Maybe it’ll crack wide open later.

 –todd (Newest Industry)