What do you want from a record? A vision of hope? A break? A clear little gem of beauty? An opportunity to briefly step out from under the shit and itch? I like those kinds of records! But there is the other kind of record too, the one that lays down in it. That goes the other direction, that looks real close at all that is used-up, all the muffled and dumb creatures of the world’s full reserve. This is the path of Terror Management Band. I took a long 2×4 out of the basement and when I slid it upright to navigate that dumb little half turn at the top of the staircase it put a dozen splinters in my hands. That’s the guitar playing on this record, a sudden sharp assault reminding me exactly how dumb I am, how prone to making the same mistakes again and again. The bass and drums stay locked together so tight it feels like their goal is to embarrass Unsane’s momentary careenings. And then the vocals, the vocals have this inescapably human presence. Like he’s not some barrel chested superhuman screaming out the horror, but he’s not mewling either. Imagine a midpoint between Will Shatter’s voice singing “Sacrifice” and the tone of your roommate half-exasperated/half-heartbroken explaining that your rent check bounced. It’s the exact right tone for lyrics like “I got a broken Ford Escort” and “Maybe a dog to love” and “Don’t you like never thinking about jail?” There’s even a little melody to it, the equivalent of turning your chin to one side while looking in the gas station bathroom mirror?

Members of Palatka, Burl, Liquid Limbs and Telepathic Lines. Limited to 200 copies, black vinyl, with lyric insert.