The Little Killers

A Real Good One
(Gern Blandsten)

Imagine an emergency room doctor gauging a patient's health according to the originality of his symptoms: "Hmm . . . unclassifiable cough, ingeniously irregular heartbeat . . . Sir, I'm happy to report that you're in excellent shape." But the health of rock 'n' roll is often measured by innovation, when the presence of a strong pulse will do. A Real Good One, the second album from NYC trio The Little Killers, doesn't bother to disguise its nods to the Stooges ("You Better Be Right" echoes "Search and Destroy"), the Modern Lovers (the two-chord raver "She Don't Love Me"), Chuck Berry ("Annie") and plenty of other Spartan influences. But the band's scrubby, overheated sound -- ringing with little dissonances and hooks sharp enough to survive constant abrasion -- is way more vital than any art-rock band you'd care to name. In fact, it's also a lot juicier than most comparable bands of punky revivalists. While The Little Killers may not be originals, their music packs all the vitality any 50-year-old music genre deserves.

 
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