Abe Vigoda

    {grate 3/4}

    Following the lead of the Smell’s stalwart acts No Age and Health, the suburban kids of Abe Vigoda (yes, like that old cheep from “The Godfather”) finally live up to their Net hype with Skeleton, a collection of tracks they’ve been playing in shoddy L.A. haunts for years.

    The Vigoda boys have kept their big break local, releasing the work on Post Present Medium, a label associated with the L.A. indie scene and headed by No Age drummer Dean Spunt. Abe’s stylistics run the gamut, culminating in tropical punk and goaded by noisy chanting. On “Bear Face,” lead singer Michael Vidal drives home his portents, repeating “When I found you, you had given up/ You will bare the face of me” ad nauseum until dispelling into chattery chord strums and snare blasts. But because the band uses these jaunty guitar tones and irreverent percussion for the majority of their songs, a cursory listen could leave you inundated and perhaps underwhelmed.

    The jerky tempo changes and steel drum sound-alike guitars of “Dead City/Waste Wilderness” may bear initial similarities to “World Heart”’s cowbell-infused rhythm and bubbly low-end, but after you become familiar with Skeleton’s puzzling methods, the hooks emerge as if they had always been there all along, just waiting to be found.

    To build a more cohesive and intricate album along with segueing between twacked-out pop, the boys enhance their set with a few noise interludes. “Whatever Forever” assaults us with condensed white feedback for less than a minute, and spastic “Animal Ghosts” takes off from there, catching us off guard.

    The comparatively ambient “Visi Rings” borrows from No Age’s playbook and serves as an introspective smoking break for both band and listener, preparing us for the last two tracks on the record. While it may not be the most carefully crafted album of the year, Skeleton’s songs reach new heights of punk creativity and find untapped energy outside the cramped confines that posturing will allow.

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