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Fucked: A Lovely Collection of Introspection
(Benevolent Demon Records)
By Greg Baker

Maybe not as introspective as, say, Mary Karlzen, but then again, if you look inside and outside and see bleakness and darkness, then that's what gets regurgitated. And it can never be said that One doesn't puke its guts out.

It's either anger or reality. Because it's a great rock-and-roll record, let's give them the benefit of the doubt. In the liner notes the band insists that the only goal of these songs is to make the listener feel something. Of course the same booklet contains pages of constructive criticism about everything relevant, such as: "Local mags are another trip" and "local [band] managers basically suck dick so that ends that series of bridges. Thank you very much."

What you hear while you're perusing all this commentary is what really matters.

Ever heard the painful wail of Sweet in "I Wanna Be Committed"? In a few bars, that old band was able to cause true and glorious brain damage. Remember Rock and Roll High School, when the amplification experimenters blew up the mice with a little help from the Ramones? Remember your own birth? One does all this at the same time through an entire album. In fact, counting the predecessor, Black Is Black, that's all One ever does. And that's plenty.

It's not thrash or 'core or speed-for- metal-rules sake. Don't think loud and fast. Just think, you dumb fucking idiots. That's all One asks -- that you philosophize about why you're beating your head against the wall even while you're beating your head against the wall. Exorcising demons? Rian Gittman sings those words, but I don't have the audacity to imply that that's what One's about. I don't know from demons. I know a little about anger and some about reality. Maybe even have a clue or two about rock and roll. One is the real thing.

One performs at Washington Square on Friday. Call 534-1403.

Second Son
First Born
(BLOWfish PRODUCtions)
By Greg Baker

Everybody's talking about how Second Son is even better live than on record. When everybody's talking, you must be doing something right.

Second Son has done right with this four-song release. They've written broad, bright tunes spiced with insight and nuance. They've recorded them masterfully. They sound great.

Which is not to say Second Son doesn't have some big problems. The biggest: Like Iko-Iko, Natural Causes, and Love Canal, they're overloaded with talent. There are so many excellent players the band is faced with the challenge of divvying up duties. On this one they pull it off A plenty of space within the arrangements, no abrupt change of direction when Morgan Mead steps aside and turns over lead vocals to Mindy Reidenbach on the touching "Dime a Day." The cassette is cohesive, coherent, occasionally compelling.

Second Son has been working together for six years and gone through more than its share of tragedy and distraction. That adds up to experience, maturity, and you can hear every minute of it in these thick, sweet grooves. You can call it pop music, that's the genre, but if anything in the Top 40 was this smart one could recommend buying a radio.

Instead, we recommend you pick up First Born. And if what everybody's saying's true, we doubly recommend you catch them live.

Second Son performs on Friday at Stephen Talkhouse. Call 531-7557.


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