White Hassle – The Death Of Song

Catch-all NYC trio's long-overdue follow-up to 1997 debut National Chain

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Curious beast, this. Starts off on a Misunderstood/Stooges tip (“She’s Dead”) before the choppy chug of Ron Asheton-like guitar morphs into a brief Strokes flurry (“Health Food Store”) and sets up camp in mutated doo-wop, surf and ’50s rock’n’roll. Singer Marcellus Hall?who, along with drummer Dave Varenka, was previously in indie heroes Railroad Jerk?sounds all Bobby Darin one moment, Gordon Gano the next. An unlikely cover of The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” only heightens the wonder that it all bleeds together so well. All done in little over a half-hour, it even touches on the anti-folk scuffle of Major Matt Mason with the ‘hidden’ title track.

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