THEY DON'T always seem so happy about it -- "the stink of perfume primes my memory," wails Steve Mack on "Blue to Black" -- but on "Chemicrazy" the members of That Petrol Emotion seem gripped by that most basic of emotions, lust. The principally Irish (Mack's from Seattle) post-punk quintet has long been politically minded -- as on its best album, "Babble," and best single, "Big Decision" -- but this time the band's song titles frequently seem signposts from the turnpike to the Empire of the Senses: "Abandon," "Compulsion," "Tingle," "Head Staggered," "Hey, Venus."
Touring last year to support their third album, "End of the Millenium Psychosis Blues," the Petrols were already backing off from that effort's sound, the danciest of the band's career. Funk still propels such tracks as "Gnaw Mark," but it's more likely coming from Damian O'Neill and Reamann O'Gormain's strumming than from Ciaran McLaughlin'sthumping.
Despite the departure of founding guitarist (and much-missed songwriter) Sean O'Neill, this is a guitar album, a postcard to the latest generation of Amerindie rockers ("Tingle" even drops the name of one such band, Mudhoney). A little more guile wouldn't have hurt, but "Chemicrazy" does bristle with adrenalinized abandon.