Aug 06, 2009

The first time I heard the Knockout Pills—an unreleased pre-mastered version—I was kinda doubtful. See, I love, love, loved the Weird Lovemakers and when they split up, the lead singer and one of the main song writers went to different corners (a bookstore and SF, to be exact.) Jason “Part of the Problem” Willis, the guitarist, and Gerrard (otherwise known as “Wallaby, Wallaby Dingo”) of the Weird Lovemakers joined up with Travis “the Archie Bunker of Punk Rock” Spillers of Los Federales, and Matt (“the secret brain” of the Resonars). The demo was so-so. I craved the type of musical punishment and reward that the Weird Lovemakers heaped high on my plate. Melodic mania. Rough knuckled, oddly voiced dork rock that kicked ass over throwback, cutout punk. Then out came the first Knockout Pills self-titled record. Through some magic of mastering or re-recording, songs like “Reject Button” leg swept me. I’d stare at the ceiling and sing along in praise that the magical sand and grit of Tucson punk rock was once again on the ascension. With each successive spin of that record, it became apparent that I wasn’t dealing with a band with just a chop or two or a band with a couple of good songs in a cat box of turds. The whole record was chops layered on top of one another, rhythms hidden in the cupboard, melodies in the gutter, choruses flying from the heavens like Lawn Darts to right between my eyes. I’d just have to sit and listen to that album, and it never failed to drop another veil. “Oh, la, la, what a voluptuous motherfucker of sound,” I said. Then 1+1=Ate comes out. Take all of the “you’ve got to listen for ‘em” stealth chops and, somehow, polish ‘em so they’re right there—luminescent gems on first listen, yet deep and dazzling enough to warrant compulsive playing—like you’re listening to something that makes you feel musically richer. They added more power. They added more confidence, and what you’ve got is one of the unabashedly best records to come out of 2004 that won’t be toppled from my top ten list. I don’t even want compare them to other bands. I’ll just say if you like what Razorcake covers as a whole, trust me on this.

 –todd (Estrus)

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