• Gorilla
  • Deal With It (Thrill Jockey) 1993 

Formed by Washington medical students (and dissolved after singer/organist/pianist Drew McRoberts and bassist Dan Merrick became doctors), Gorilla filled its first album (recorded after the departure of founding guitarist/singer Jon Hale) with manic garage raving that, in its nostalgia-free intensity, resembles either a Northwest Stranglers (thanks to McRoberts’ hyperactive fingers) or a punkier Fleshtones. Drawing on their region’s deep roots in the genre (after all, the Kingsmen were from Portland and the Sonics came straight outta Tacoma), the quartet gathers up all the voltage lurking in their carport’s electric sockets and matches it with burly, scratched-larynx vocals and frenzied playing. There isn’t a molecule of spare air on Deal With It until the spoken-word/solo piano exercise (“Drew’s Exit”) that ends it; the breathless rush that begins with “Stuck on You” and blows through “This Shit’s for You” and “Zero Street” is hellhound bound and as compelling as an electromagnet in a junkyard.

[Ira Robbins]