Having little more than geographical proximity and the overdrive settings on their amplifiers in common with the Melvins, Karp — a trio from Tumwater, Washington — has nonetheless repeatedly been compared to Buzz’s clique by dint of its unmitigated squalling. Mustaches Wild lets rip with fast, assailing shitstorms of guitar noise, frantic screaming and flailing percussion — ugly, shapeless and poorly recorded. “Valley of the Kings” effectively breaks the gruesome mold with an atmospherically refined instrumental intro and a segment of wispy, quiet vocals before the cruelty begins, but that’s as good as it gets.
Suplex is a different story. Not only does the album extend the courtesy of printed lyrics — revealing some imagination in the tales of consumerism, (“Pie,” “Treats to the Soul”) and roller derby history (“Connect 5”), as well as random collections of epigrams (“Shotzie,” “Absolutely Fibulous” and “Lorch-Miller,” which takes two-and-a-half minutes to reach the first vocal line) — the band’s ungodly power surges have been channeled into effectively semi-tight riff exercises. Between the amplitude modulation, pummeling songs that occasionally do more than start and stop and the semi-understandable singing, Suplex takes a giant step in the right direction.
Karp drummer Scott Jernigan died June 10, 2003 in Seattle when a boat he was in hit a dock. He was 28.