?I broke the arm of a man I can?t stand / He?s at it again / Get in the van.? This is ?Girls of War?s? dispassionate opening chant over an angular churn. Simultaneously referencing the punk ancients and menacing them ? but it?s a reverential menace. ?Turn on the heater, I?m freezing? (?Heatersss?) ? you sure are. This band features the guitarist from the Gossip, and while, yep, that?s his thudding low-end palm-stop and his single-note zing, this music is nowhere near the Gossip?s hard, overheated R & B. There?s only one kind of heat that seeps through here: This Heat, whose metal lurch (meta-lurch) is approximated on ?XXETS.?
Funny, then, the incongruous aura of sex the band tries to drape over the proceedings. A rakish title like ?Pausing the Panty Scenes? is undermined by the music?s stuttering, desultory workout. Elsewhere the antipathy to the flesh deepens: ?He?s war-damaged / He doesn?t know what he?s doing / Come on? (sum total of lyrics to ?XXX Chains?), or most explicitly, ?She?s a threat and I never wanna do it? (?Thigh Lies?). A leer, a lustful thought: at best, to DMB, a part of the grinding machinery of the present scenery, at worst a danger. You?re probably not looking for a Rev. Al Green-style affirmation of love from this kind of band, but still, how bleak!
?Gore Appeal? gives the straightest riffage and is your punk rock hit here, although the hardcore two-step tease in ?Berlin Crime 1978? gives it a run for its money?and I swore I wouldn?t be too allusive here, but I?m sorry, that?s the ghost of Live Skull lurking in the eddies and whorls that litter ?White Shock? and ?Thigh Lies.? A welcome ghost, shouting through a junked muffler at a cold world. 8/10 -- Sal Addays (25 May, 2005)