"Our Band Sucks" is hard to beat as a closer, too, both for a beer-soaked night at the bar and for this album. Like '60s pop done by Portishead, it's the nagging conscience of every local band, a dreamy, delicate, piano-plinking AM-era soundtrack to failure and disillusionment: "How we gonna get a record deal if we can't afford a CD?"
It's the burning cynicism of the disaffected turned on its head. This would all be so grave and important if it wasn't all so silly and easy to sing along to. A gifted and underappreciated lyricist, Gutter on this album has removed all the filters, given in to every whim, allowed himself to play with every fear and inhibition that's ever crossed his path (hell, he's had six years to collect them since the last PSC record).
Everything coalesces in the three-strum rhythm of "No Fear," where Vanityites' Chris Moulton and Gavin Castleton (one of Gruvis Malt, now solo) lend voices and drama to an array of options: "We could cry like we're cutting teeth/Or we could just bite down."
Paranoid Social Club have sunk their teeth right in and they're not letting go.
Sam Pfeifle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AXIS IV | Released by Paranoid Social Club | with the Mallett Brothers Band + the Pubcrawlers | at Port City Music Hall, in Portland | May 20 | pscmusic.com
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