May 25, 2011 Web Exclusive
Following up their excellent 2009 debut In the Court of the Wrestling Let's, Let's Wrestle have certainly aligned themselves with a kindred spirit in engineer Steve Albini. Albini was instrumental in defining the serrated quiet/loud/quiet dynamic so prevalent in the work of the band's antecedents —The Wedding Present, The Pixies, and Nirvana to name a few. Fortunately, the band haven't sacrificed any of the playfulness that made their debut so enjoyable, while their innate melodic propulsion has been augmented by a visceral low-end bass rumble that more closely approximates their live show thanks to Albini's engineering aesthetic.
Opening track "In Dreams Part II" finds singer Wesley Patrick Gonzales waxing wry as he declares, "In my dreams we met that bad actress from her bad TV show/She liked your porn films/She didn't like me" over Superchunk-esque anthemic guitar riffs colliding with bass lines redolent of early Dinosaur Jr. "If I Keep On Loving You" has an fractured jangle vaguely reminiscent of Versus, until a hyper-driven guitar solo blasts the delicacy into oblivion, exhibiting what a superb command of dynamics this band has developed.
Yes, they crib liberally from their idols, and as with like minded peers such as Yuck and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, you could play the "spot the influence" game all day long. But Let's Wrestle are a singular idiosyncratic force, with far too much swagger and charisma to be classified simply as a cheap nostalgia act.
"I'm so lazy I can't sleep/I leave a trail of rubbish behind me I can't pick up," laments Gonzales on the record's centerpiece "I'm So Lazy." Yet his "Slack Motherfucker" tendencies are betrayed by the sheer erudition and craft at the heart of not just this song, but the entirety of this fine record. Like spiritual forebears Pavement and Sebadoh, Let's Wrestle might feel like they're morbidly allergic to success, but a broader audience seems inevitable, as Nursing Home is too rife with killer hooks to escape that fate. (letswrestleband.blogspot.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
- R.I.P. Surfer Blood Guitarist Thomas Fekete (News) — Thomas Fekete, Surfer Blood
- Listen: Jack White Writes Theme Song for Maya Rudolph and Martin Short’s New Variety Show (News) — Jack White, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph
- Listen: Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff Cover Prince’s “Purple Rain” for Charity (News) — Amanda Palmer, Prince
- James Blake Announces North American Tour Dates (News) — James Blake
- Watch Julien Baker Cover Death Cab For Cutie’s “Photobooth,” Plus Tour Dates Announced (News) — Death Cab for Cutie, Julien Baker