Music News

The Symptoms

Chicks with dicks love the Symptoms. So do dudes with pussies. In fact, anyone who's ever felt the pull between the masculine and the feminine within them might get a little wet between the legs upon their first exposure to this six-song debut. Founded in 2003, the group is new, but the story's as old as Gilgamesh: boys, girls, amps, strings, sticks. But instead of your typical, splattered onslaught of garage-forged rock, the Symptoms opt for a slivery keenness. On the track "Ohio" -- a heartfelt "fuck you" aimed at the former home of guitarist Josh Bergstrand and bassist Sonya Decman -- a clutch of punk-blues chords are yanked out like broken teeth and sunk into a vicious, boiling bass line. Elsewhere, Bergstrand hooks and fillets primal, two-chord riffs in a fit of zealous ferocity that few recent bands outside the Nerves and Starlite Desperation have fully surrendered themselves to. The songs' bony arrangements are strung together by the meaty drumming of a man known only as "#3" (or Rob Burleson to his mom), but the truly essential force spewing out of the Symptoms is the vocal tug-of-war between Bergstrand and Decman. Like the two sides of a hermaphrodite duking it out over control of a single set of sex organs, their growls and screeches rise and fall in an androgynous blur of anger, tension and anxiety. That said, the disc never forgets to get drunk and have fun -- but when the track titled "Xgirl" comes on, don't be surprised if your hormones start crying out for a little transsexual healing.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller