Music Reviews
ARE Weapons

ARE Weapons

Darker Blue

Defend Music

“I like this record because these guys can write songs about anything. Look, this one’s about hot dogs and cockroaches in your french fries.”

Of all of the bands aping the sound and dangervibe of Suicide, ARE Weapons do it best (seemingly even using Suicide’s antiquated drum machine on every track). But hey, don’t ask me, ask Alan fucking Vega, who rated these guys so highly that he even fronted the band for some live work and recording. Core Weapons’ duo of Matt McAuley and Brian McPeck dropped out of the scene for awhile but have resurfaced with a fresh new look – shorn locks and shaven faces, the cover photo apes the fascist preppy chic of DFA – and the same wondrous sound. Darker Blue is all sped-up drum machine, overloaded rockabilly guitar, broken distorted keyboards, gruff shouty vocals, and unabashed joie de vivre above all else. ARE Weapons’ sound is pure and uncluttered, a primal audio verite homage to their idols, the Velvet Underground and Suicide, both sonically and in the cues and clues popping up in the lyrics, romanticizing a New York City that hasn’t existed since the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company opened in Times Square, shot through with a modern scuzz/punk sensibility. Oh, and oodles of crazy-ass Andrew WK-level optimism totally at odds with their dirt-caked and self-mutilating sonics. No black hearts here.

“Subway” is madcap machine-hearted rockabilly-doo-wop fingersnapping madness, even besting Suicide’s hitherto unchallenged “Subway Comedian.” “What the Fuck Do You Want” is just so wondrously and giddily blunt and hilarious, all sped-up heartattack drum machine, synth buzz, and insectoid slide guitar. ARE Weapons close the album with their own “Frankie Teardrop.” Finally! “Don’t You Fucking Die on Me” combines the bleak John-Steinbeck-meets-Whitehouse narrative of “Frankie” with a noir kick that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bad Seeds album. It’s a serrated pulse of a song that builds to a harrowing conclusion of screams and pleas to give up on the death trips, because “there’s so much left to do, you see.”

This is the one where they’ve delivered on all of their bare-knuckled, cracked-tooth promises. Yes!

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