Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Album Reviews

Bernell Dorrough

Broadcast Oblivion
Transmita Olvido
Burn Burn Burn Records
For fans of: Hsker D, the Shins, Murder City Devils
Grade: B-

Dead Low Tide
Dead Low Tide
Tiger Style Records
For fans of: Murder City Devils, Primus, These Arms Are Snakes
Grade: B-

Seattle’s Murder City Devils broke up just as they were becoming popular, and have become more loved and highly regarded since their breakup. A pure rock and roll band with a trashy, organ-laden sound and film noir lyrics, the Devils stood out in a punk scene laden with artsy post-punkers and whiny emo brats. The highly anticipated releases of two projects featuring MCD members will disappoint fans of the band, though both have something to offer.

Dead Low Tide, featuring three of the six Murder City members, released a self-titled album and broke up themselves. The album sounds a lot like MCD, but with Primus-like progressive bass parts and polished heavy metal riffing replacing the sloppy rock chords and Farfisa organ that the Devils worked with. Vocalist Spencer Moody is in fine form, however, and his unmistakable growl and dark lyrics make the record worth owning. Its biggest weakness is monotony among the songs-had they stayed together longer, they might have recorded a more consistent effort.

MCD Drummer Coady Willis joins Dave Hernandez (of Scared of Chaka and the Shins) in the power trio Broadcast Oblivion. Their debut, “Transmita Olvido,” is far more consistent than the Dead Low Tide release. It is a brash, quickly moving alternative rock album, heavily reminiscent of Bob Mould’s bands Hsker D and Sugar in its mix of melody and hooks with churning, distorted guitars. The songs are unremarkable, but there are some nice hooks and riffs. While a perfectly good listen, it seems like it’s all been done before.

The Murder City Devils were a unique band, one that inspired devotion to whiskey-stained, blood-drenched rock and roll. Broadcast Oblivion and Dead Low Tide do not inspire that same devotion.

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