I honestly cannot fathom why Demon’s Claws are not recognized as one of the greatest rock’n’roll groups around right now. I mean, of course this can be attributed to the fact that their label In The Red can’t buy them that distinction through music videos and other vacuous media exposure, but word of mouth should have these guys somewhere around Miami-era Gun Club. Evil. Debauched. Fucked up. Great songs. A few years back, these Canadians released Satan’s Little Pet Pig and it was head and shoulders above their previous efforts. The Defrosting of continues that artistic ascent. Jeff Clarke is a great songwriter. His arrangements are strong and his lyrics are compelling. His vocals are at times indecipherable—and the album lacks a lyric sheet—but it’s easy to visualize the scenes of degradation he describes…going to a free clinic in the south side of town…being fucking up on ketamine. It’s a bad place to be and it convincingly sounds like Demon’s Claws are providing reportage of their daily lives…. I can’t shake the feeling that this record at times feels like the 13th Floor Elevators’ brilliant last one, largely the work of Stacy Sutherland on his last leg. There is that kind of hopelessness on some of these tracks. It’s the second side of The Defrosting of that’s the burner. “You’ll Always Be My Friend” has a real street-level International Submarine Band feel to it…train-shuffle drum beat and lyrics in the form a personal letter. I haven’t read too much press on Demon’s Claws, but I’m hoping people are picking up on how talented these guys are as musicians. In particular, Ysael Pepin’s bass lines are never less than formidable, and, wisely, his work is high in the mix. The dude grooves like a refined Bill Wyman. This review is about as real as they come. What I mean by that is I wasn’t sent this record by In The Red. I bought if from Goner then paid to have it shipped out to New Zealand. Sorry. If you’re looking for sycophancy, read something else. I’ll be damned if this album slips through the cracks.
–ryan (In the Red)