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Yatsura: Slain By Urusei Yatsura

Album: Slain By Urusei Yatsura
Label: Sire

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The members of Yatsura appear at first to be a pretty unremarkable bunch of indie-rockers. They're ugly, they're from Scotland, and they sing too many songs about being in a band. Those facts notwithstanding, there's something different about their second record, Slain By Urusei Yatsura. Sure, Yatsura has the same influences as every other bookish indie-rock band (Velvet Underground, Pixies, etc.), but where its debut, We Are Urusei Yatsura, was content to hang on to these influences, Slain takes them into new, louder directions. Throughout the album, Yatsura continually skirts the obvious pop hooks it indulged the first time out, revealing a surprising affinity for noisy, metallic rock in the process. Fergus Lawrie's attitudinal drawl makes it hard to avoid a comparison to the band's Scottish noise-pop forefathers in The Jesus And Mary Chain, but listen to co-lead singer Graham Kemp sneer, "You're slain by elf!" (on "Slain By Elf"), and it'll be clear that these guys have spent time in a dark room with Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Traces of the band's affection for pop can still be found on the gentle "King Of Lazy" or the bouncy "Hello Tiger," but they're balanced by angry shards of bass-driven clatter that spew forth from such tracks as "Flaming Skull" and "No. 1 Cheesecake." It's often an uncomfortable synthesis—infectious pop hooks and a bottom-heavy guitar din—but when it works (on "Superfi" and "Fake Fur," for example), it's irresistible.