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Obits: A Heavy Song That Cuts Through Lies

"Shift Operator" finds a few corners in which to experiment with Obits' garage-rock sound.
Eliot Shepard
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records
"Shift Operator" finds a few corners in which to experiment with Obits' garage-rock sound.

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Rick Froberg may be years removed from his loudest days, back when he was throttling microphones as the leader of Hot Snakes. But he's well suited to his newer band, Obits. The Brooklyn outfit plays straightforward garage rock with few frills: 2009's I Blame You, for example, leveled the intensity of his wild-eyed haranguing with guitar-and-drum ballast.

Obits' members don't go for broke on their new album Moody, Standard and Poor, but they do find a few corners in which to experiment: "Shift Operator," for example, finds the band exercising some restraint in terms of volume. It's still a heavy and wired-out track, striking a close chord with acts of the "weird west" variety, like Josh Homme's Desert Sessions. Froberg vocals strain with bitterness as he cuts through lies: "I don't want that kind of fiction / I see no glory in disguise." Feedback buzz adds a generous layer of tension where the guitars recede. The chorus doesn't erupt as might be expected in a garage-rock song; instead, it lurches upward like a temporary parting of the clouds.

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Erik Myers