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ICEBOXERS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Yibe! (Composite) 1994

Yibe! is a befuddling assembly from a Washington DC band that hasn't decided quite who it is or what it wants. Do they fancy themselves saviors of a near-future environmental dystopia? The album, despite worthwhile moments, suffers from an identity crisis that splits somewhere between the shtickiness of Devo and (no pun intended) chunkiness of Romeo Void, thanks to Jeff Crowe's stilted sax. But where Devo's gimmickry worked because it was only a part of the picture, the Iceboxers fail to create a context. Jon Rustad, the band's main songwriter, has his gifts. "Knowledge Is a Knife" and "Puppets and Dolls" fit together well; "Raincheck on That Cow" is also worth hearing. But "Intensity," "Leisure Slaves" and "No Sex for Christmas" all manage to sacrifice musical integrity in the name of unwashed silliness.

[Ian McCaleb]