Bang! Bang!

Bang! Bang! doesn't waste any time living up to its name — exclamation points and all — on The Dirt That Makes You Drown. The opening track, "What We Need," rocks the way you only wish the latest Stooges album would rock. It's a sonic explosion touched off by a riff that channels every great garage-punk riff (and more than likely steals a few), but which is played too fast — the way it should be. Then, the singer takes the mic and shows you everything he's learned about what badass is supposed to sound like, dripping attitude all over every nuance of being "Fucked up by the goddamn games that they play." But while they rarely ease up on the energy or attitude, there's more to the Chicago band than those opening moments of raucous post-Stooges abandon would suggest. By "Prefab Nation," the CD's second track, they're already bringing quirky New Wave keyboards to the table, suggesting a punkier B-52s with bassist Gretta Fine on high-pitched wails. Fine's true moment of glory, though, is a B-movie monologue, "She Came From Outer Space," in which she comes on like the missing link between the Shangri-Las and Karen O.


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