.The Intelligence.


[In The Red, 2008]

"Finberg's clearly earned his lambskin from the school of asshole rock, and recent tour dates with the Fall have only amplified his Mark E. Smith malaise. Deuteronomy's filled with uncharacteristically catchy songs for Finberg, many of them reminiscent of the Fall circa Grotesque (After the Gramme), the Cramps' mutant rockabilly, or Brainiac's surf cyborg wipeout. However, despite an array of ear-grabbing instrumentation and Finberg's frugal use of yelling and screaming, the vocals make a concerted effort not to touch upon any accessible melodies. The easy-going ditty "Tubes", for example, bops along an organ vamp copping "96 Tears", but instead of climaxing at a hummable chorus, the song peaks with Finberg shrieking a nasally "Fuck!"

Oddly enough, Finberg cites the Zombies and Bee Gees as Deuteronomy's key influences, a statement that initially sounds ridiculous until you realize how loose and playful the album is in relation to earlier works. "Secret Signals" begins like so much garden variety post-punk getting exorcised these days-- the drums/bass/guitar arrangement sterile and predictable, the rhythm stubbornly four-on-the-floor-- but then Finberg unleashes a bluesy, chopped-up chorus that's probably his best approximation of a song like "Care of Cell 44"'s complex chord changes. Some tracks here, when stripped of their strident noise rock exterior, even resemble some of rock's earliest and kookiest personalities. The eerie haunted house organ on "Block of Ice" and "How to Improve Your Hearing Without Listening"-- coupled with Finberg's crazed howls-- channels Screamin' Jay Hawkins, while the cosmic surf riffs on "Our Solar System" and "The Outer Echelon" recall so many 60s sci-fi program themes."

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