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Music Reviews

The Chinese Stars

The Chinese Stars

A Rare Sensation

Three One G

The Chinese Stars rose from the ashes of the ever-so-brilliant Arab on Radar, and with the latter band’s shrieking vocalist (Eric Paul) and epileptic drummer (Craig Kureck) well in place, there really isn’t all that much that sets the two bands apart — this is certainly something for which we should all be grateful, thank you very much. However, while The Chinese Stars retain the angular oddities and the sheer weirdness of their predecessor, they are a more controlled and far more approachable entity altogether, as witnessed both on their debut EP, Turbo Mattress, and now again on their debut full-length disc.

Basically, The Chinese Stars come across as a more developed and mature act than Arab on Radar ever did, both with regards to songwriting and performances. Bassist Rick Pelletier, formerly of Six Finger Satellite, and guitar player Paul Vieria may have something to do with this. They are both more technically advanced players, thereby adding a sense of instrumental precision that The Chinese Stars (rather charmingly) lacked. It’s still quirky as shit, but it makes for a somewhat less intriguing sensory crush than Arab on Radar did. Yet, chances are A Rare Sensation will get more rounds in your CD player. It is, quite simply, easier on the ear.

As always, Paul’s lyrics are a mess of confusion and hilarity, this time focusing on the human machine, the machine human — or perhaps it’s just about sex. In any case, it makes the music even better.

Three One G: www.threeoneg.com

Categories
Music Reviews

Arab on Radar

Arab on Radar

Queen Hygiene II / Rough Day At The Orifice

Three.One.G

Arab on Radar recently announced they were breaking up, but 2003 still proves to be a pretty good year for fans of the band. First we got The Stolen Singles, a great collection of the band’s singles and compilation tracks. And now we get this one-disc re-release of the band’s first two hard-to-find albums. The spastic Providence, RI band formed back in 1997, and debuted with Queen Hygiene II that same year. A brief, punctuated and tightly energetic affair, this established all the trademarks of the Arab on Radar sound: angular arrangements, a spastic hardcore approach and some extremely funny (and thought-provoking) gender-bending lyrics.

By 1999, Arab on Radar had become a semi-legendary live band on the spazzcore scene, and one of the definite acts in the new wave of hardcore punk. They were equal parts Captain Beefheart and Black Flag, but with an aesthetic and angularity all their own. A Rough Day At The Orifice is a darker, even more twisted and perverted affair than the debut album. This album is more difficult to approach at first listening, but is ultimately an even more rewarding affair than their already stunning debut. Showing a band that has honed their unique musicianship and songwriting close to perfection, Rough Day At The Orifice demonstrates just why Arab on Radar is regarded as one of the defining bands among the new breed of hardcore weirdness.

Three.One.G: http://www.threeoneg.com/