Local Wire


With song titles such as "Dead Voices," "Cruel Beauty," and "Forget Yourself," it's a sure bet the USSA debut disc isn't going to be tagged power-pop or Americana. With members including Paul Barker of Ministry and Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard (and Tomahawk), USSA, for the most part, sustains its lineage — big, slammin' guitar riffs; rippling bass; booming drums; and growling, doom- and angst-laden singing. On the minus side, the lyrics are liable to come off as a tad silly for listeners over age 25. "Forget" has a chorus of "When the kid's away/The rats come out to play," and "Blue Light" illuminates evils of the glass teat (i.e., television): "I grew up in the TV's glare/A faceless half-life in endless blare." We had to double-check the credits to see if Derek Smalls or David St. Hubbins were present. On the plus side, USSA plays with an admirable sense of restraint and economy (no excess or blather) and their fast-tempo riff-o-rama recalls the glory days of the first two Killing Joke albums. Your liking this depends on which stratum of the rock bloc you currently occupy.
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Mark Keresman