While the critical discussion of modern music turns into a scramble to invent and/or downplay genre tags, Like Like The The The Death continues to release good albums full of rock songs. The songs on the new Cave Jenny are a little more accessible and polished than most of the ones on last year’s Ghosts Of Dead Bros debut (not including the pure ear-candy gem “Holy Ghosty” ), making for a more ambitious racket that nevertheless sounds like exactly the same band. The combination of Anthony Weber’s Midwestern noise-pop yelp with Kyle Scheuer’s anthemic mid-’90s Victory-punk shout yields an infectious breed of sarcastic vigor, and now there are some world-class riffs to elevate the proceedings. It’s not an attempt to be commercial by any means—just a strong step forward in terms of songwriting.
Vocal interplay has been the key to LLTTTD’s distinctive sound from the beginning, and the two frontmen take more chances and get results that are more sophisticated on this album. They both still skirt the edges of actual singing, but their counterpoints in “Here Comes Irregular,” “Cropsies,” “Paralyzer,” and “Huck” create a uniquely stimulating dynamic; what exactly they’re singing about, though, is up for grabs. “F.B.I. / Not good enough / For the C.I.A.,” Scheuer sings in “Cropsies.” Both “Tyrant Science” and “Night Of A Hundred Hondos,” meanwhile, come off as militant calls-to-arms; they could be self-motivational or potshots at the music industry, but they’re belligerently vague.
“Salt On Assault” is the one track with an obvious agenda. It’s an effective mockery of mainstream culture, but that viewpoint hardly needs to be stated. The entire noise genre takes obvious pride in self-marginalization, so invectives like these are unlikely to reach their targets. Still, LLTTTD doesn’t take itself too seriously, and having a little snotty fun at the expense of society is a time-honored tradition of underground music. Cave Jenny is best experienced as a visceral sonic blast anyway, as in the brilliant serpentine riffage of “Cropsies,” the surging stadium-punk guitar bluster of “Cry Tag,” the quasi-industrial pummeling of “Very Important Fun Person,” and the harrowing speed-grunge of “Hypnic Jerk” and “Porch Gold.” It hardly matters what the words are as long as you can shout along while you pogo.
Like Like The The The Death celebrate the release of Cave Jenny Friday, October 11 at Cactus Club.