The Von Bondies 

Lack of Communication

Goddamn, Detroit is a white-hot slab of garage rock. From Motor City acts like the Gories, to offshoots like the Demolition Doll Rods and the Dirtbombs, to new kids like the Go and the Paybacks, Detroit is echoing with the primitive howls of a rock 'n' roll that's been stripped down like a corpse in a vulture nest. The White Stripes may be the one band to currently -- reluctantly -- carry the albatross of mainstream-media adulation around their neck, but the peppermint-slashed duo is also helping newly converted garage fans to discover the wealth of punk rock-'n'-R&B-roll that the automobile capital has to offer.

One band surely benefiting from the Stripes frenzy is the Von Bondies, a quartet that shares both a hometown and a summer tour with the mighty two-piece. The Bondies' new release, Lack of Communication -- produced by the Stripes' Jack White -- sounds straight off the Nuggets box set, flashing psychedelic, Doors-like trails over hip-grinding, electrified garage punk. Leading man Jason Stollsteimer provides yelping, beyond-the-brink vocals; he comes off like a junkie ex-boyfriend who's too crazy for commitment, but too irresistible not to fuck. When he screams "Do you like the way I walk/ Do you like the way I talk/ Do you like me at Awwwwwwwwl?" ("Please Please Man"), he sounds like he's clawing his way back from a bottomless outhouse of heartache, adding "I've been sleeping at your door/ So don't ever come home." Stollsteimer's gift for behind-the-fuckup storytelling mixes effortlessly with the dark 'n' grimy musical webs the Bondies are so skilled at weaving. Despite the title, Lack of Communication makes the Von Bondies' point all too clear -- this is one band that can shake unstable love affairs and menacing riffs into one infectious concoction of Detroit garage rock. --


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