Dope Body – Natural History
This Baltimorean quartet alternate between a slurring, droney development of Albini-style math rock, all grinding bass, delayed vocals and brutally clear percussion; and a playful, tongue-in-cheek take on hardcore punk, with plenty of jaunty basslines and frantically escalating power chords. On tracks like Powder, the harmonised lead guitars even reach towards something like hair metal, although the guttural vocals always keep things anchored at a scuzzier level.
Dope Body are a rockier, more bruising proposition than most Drag City acts, particularly on the LP’s more frantic moments (High Way, Weird Mirror), but this is by no means a traditional or predictable record: the tone shifts from the sort of stoner adventurism that characterises Royal Trux’s early LPs, to all-out blasts of apocalyptic noise. As a result Natural History does lack a sense of cohesion, but that feels entirely in keeping with the endearingly insouciant spirit which underpins it. [Sam Wiseman]