The Goddamn Gentlemen 

Sex-Caliber Horsepower (Upper Cut)

Portland isn't just a rusty junkyard of self-conscious indie pop bands, or funk acts for white boys who have a fear of showering -- there's still some rock left in that town, as those who've heard the Goddamn Gentlemen can attest. These garage rockers careen through some rowdy stompers like they were the country punk cousins of the Cramps. On Sex-Caliber Horsepower, the Gentlemen uncork the elements of a great rock 'n' roll act -- vocals screamed through what sounds like a duct-taped, bargain-bin mike; guitar rhythms that jangle like handfuls of pocket change, and an ominous Farfisa organ that adds a bit of gothic mischief to the mix. This band isn't ready for garage rock sainthood though, partly because they too often pull from the same, very tattered lyrical book. The sex/cars/chicks motif runs throughout the entire album. Luckily for the Gentlemen, though, by the time the distortion's through with frontman Mark Gaster's vocals, what he's saying is far less important than what the Gentlemen's music conveys with utmost clarity -- roughhouse garage punk is still rock's wildest ride.

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