Saturday, June 17, 2006


Ladyfinger EP

Clocking in at less than 14-minutes, Ladyfinger’s self-titled debut is a big bang that jolts the group to life with tempered blasts of gut-punching rhythm and distortion. Balancing the grit of the Jesus Lizard, the post-punk tension of Mission of Burma with the jittery, straightforward rock laid down by Queens of the Stone Age, the Omaha four-piece swells with antagonism. “Too Cool For School” opens with a metallic jangle that’s soon cut down by a massive guitar surge that drives with the barreling and blackened fury of a freight train.

To more cynical indie rock listeners the simple, pummeling guitars and distinctly male drive rages a little too closely to the machine for comfort. However, with each passing listen it becomes apparent that Ladyfinger has stolen back the formula that the 99x pirates hoisted and dumbed down for the Godsmack masses. This is pure, uncut product that invokes the AmRep ‘90s when bands like Helmet, Jawbox and Unsane reached a high plateau of noise rock excellence.

Stylish repetition heaves the group out of the stoner metal ghetto, toward the realm of proletariat post-punk. A general sense of urgency strings elements of art-damaged emotions through shredded vocals and muscular instrumental arrangements.

Complexity is less of an issue for Ladyfinger than facilitating a searing and eruptive discharge. Dueling guitars clash and harmonize like ribbons of razor wire in “Old News” and “1,000 Tongues.” “Diet Smoke” bleeds a call-and-response chatter into a fuzzed-out wash of melodic minimalism and white hot dirge.

The recording grinds to halt before the songs have a chance to sink in. It’s short, and to the point, and these songs leave just a taste of Ladyfinger’s capabilities lingering in the air; demanding repeated listens and leaving the brains, the ears and the muscles begging for more.

--Chad Radford