Audits, supposedly, are about as pleasurable as a tube of Super Glue squeezed down your urethra. So it's funny that Audit in Progress, the third full-length by Hot Snakes (appearing Thursday, November 4, at the Bluebird Theater), is the band's least pain-inflicting release to date. Not that it doesn't try hard: Outfitted with pummeling new drummer Mario Rubalcaba, the disc attempts to reignite the burning, itching insanity of the Snakes' 2000 debut, Automatic Midnight. But the songs are hamstrung by their own incessant sharpness. Gone almost entirely are the puzzling convulsions of Suicide Invoice, the group's astounding sophomore effort, and in their place is a handful of hollow post-hardcore cliches. Of course, as ex-members of Drive Like Jehu and Rocket From the Crypt, the men of Hot Snakes invented many of these cliches -- but the fact that they feel the need to backpedal takes even more of the sting out of their attack. Sadly, by the time this Audit is over, Hot Snakes come up a bit bankrupt.
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