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IKARA COLT (Buy CDs by this artist)
Chat and Business (Fantastic/Epitaph) 2002

Raucous art-punk ... sleepy drone-rock ... strutting garage-rock ... tepid post-punk ... or all of those in a pressure-packed nutshell, where rapidly strummed guitars and pounding rhythms seep out through a gauzy, dulling production style that's all midrange (might as well unplug your tweeters and woofers for this one). And so are the songs on Chat and Business. Formed in 1999, the London quartet plays art-rock by the numbers — Evol's an album, not an instruction manual! (see "Bishop's Son") — and those numbers often read 1983. Which is fine and dandy for the opener, "One Note," but boring elsewhere. The occasional signs of life in Claire Ingram's guitar and Dominic Young's drums are purposely absent from singer Paul Resende's monotone. This affectation without effect is amusing to start, but it wears thin, just like the swishing sounds of a pair of corduroys. How many times can this kind of album be made (and pale versions at that) before we all give up and surrender to the Almighty Drone in a fit of hopeless submission? "Never!" says Ikara Colt, and they are very wrong.

[Yancey Strickler]