The Tarmints' exhilarating dynamism and hysteria-inducing percussive textures have always been their signature, but this record shows that the brutally intense act doesn't just exorcise the dark side of the human psyche. If anything, Thirteen Dead Cats bursts with vitality and is perhaps the most musical of the band's releases to date. For instance, while Kurt Ottaway's lyrics have occasionally contained defiant humor, on songs like "Bring Me Down" and "Blue Rasberry Church Bruise," there are actual laughs to be had. But the music itself is no less gritty; in fact, it's supercharged with a sinuous aggression. "Git Witch You," a song about every creepy jerk who gives unwanted attention to every cute girl he sees, is one of the outfit's most chilling numbers. Ultimately, the Tarmints' greatest strength has always been in reminding listeners to live life genuinely, and with this collection, it sounds like they've embraced that sentiment — that truly being alive means experiencing life's full range of emotions.


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