Retisonic – Robots Fucking

January 01, 1970

(Arctic Rodeo)

www.arcticrodeorecordings.com

Twitchy, jagged and fervent, the style of punk developed in D.C. in the latter
1980s has lost none of its urgency. The same can’t be said of its
practitioners, who — like grownups everywhere — no longer spend quite so much
time announcing their discontent. Take, for example, Retisonic, a trio whose
history stretches back to Swiz (est. 1987). The band’s new Robots Fucking — OK, so the title’s not so grownup — is its first
release in six years, and only the second longplayer of a 10-year off-and-on
run.

The extended layoff reflects the usual life and job pressures, as well as the
three musicians’ geographic dispersal: Singer-guitarist Jason Farrell now lives
in L.A., while bassist Jim Kimball and drummer
and backing vocalist Joe Gorelick are in New
York. But if there was any rust on the apparatus, it
got knocked off early in the recording process. Songs like
“Wait…Lookout!” and “High On Denial” are lean and
propulsive, with sing-along moments to boost the melodies (but not so much that
anyone might call them “emo”).

Despite its hardcore-punk pedigree, Retisonic is not super speedy. In fact, the
band has weakness for chugging boogie-rock rhythms, although they’re often
scrambled by the sudden-shift and quick-stop arrangements, which suggest such
kindred D.C.-rooted groups as Burning Airlines. Additional instruments
sometimes enter, but Retisonic enjoys being a trio; the bones of these songs
are always evident, and sometimes their meat is stripped away entirely. The
starkness suits the lyrics, helpfully printed on the sleeve since they tend to
get lost amid the instrumental back-and-forth. It turns out that, whether
lamenting a breakup in “Don’t Let It Complicate Your Mind” or the
whole culture in “Necropolitan,” Farrell is still packing a lot of
discontent.

DOWNLOAD: “High on
Denial,” “Necropolitan,” “Wait…Lookout!” MARK
JENKINS

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