CD Reviews - Obits 'I Blame You' and Points 'The Points'

Friday, April 3, 2009

OBITS "I Blame You" Sub Pop POINTS "The Points" Mud Memory

WITH POP MUSIC splintering into dozens of styles, blues-based garage rock remains a useful fall-back position. The Obits' "I Blame You" won't startle anyone familiar with the genre; the album is so tradition-minded that it includes a version of Kokomo Arnold's "Milk Cow Blues," a tune recorded by many artists, including Elvis Presley and the Kinks. But what matters in such music is drive and shared enthusiasm, both of which the Obits offer in abundance.

Based in Brooklyn, the quartet includes Rick Froberg, once of San Diego's Drive Like Jehu, and Sohrab Habibion, formerly of D.C.'s Edsel. (The album was co-produced by another D.C. veteran, Eli Janney.) The Obits insert a few up-to-date remarks amid their neoclassical riffs, titling one track "Light Sweet Crude" and singing about conflict diamonds in "Sud." Geopolitical references aside, though, such punchy rockers as "Back and Forth" could have been regional Top 20 hits in 1966. And that's a compliment.

It's probably just as well that the Points' female keyboardist left before the Virginia band released its self-titled debut. After all, the album opens with "No Girl," a Stooges-style declaration of independence from the fairer sex. Continuing as the surname-free duo of singer-guitarist Geo and singer-drummer Cobruhhh, the Points play short, brisk, simple songs embellished with layers of fuzz and squeaks of feedback. Tidier production would have highlighted the melodies of such numbers as "Feeing Sorry," but that's clearly not what Geo and Cobruhhh wanted. No girl -- or guy -- is going to clean up this band.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Sunday at the Black Cat (202-667-7960, Show starts at 9 p.m.

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