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CD Review: GIRAFFES, "Prime Motivator"

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A few summers ago, the Giraffes' self-titled breakthrough established them as one of the best new hard rock bands since Queens of the Stone Age debuted. This year's Prime Motivator is The Giraffes x 1.5–longer, stronger, wronger and song-er than their ear-catching previous LP.

Roaring out of the gate instantly with the dizzying title track, the disoriented-sounding band somehow organize themselves ten seconds in and unleash a pile-driving riff-fest that's over before you wonder why your eardrums exploded. But the album really takes off on the second track, “Done,” with an entrancing, Zeppelin-esque lick that stays in your brain for hours. When singer Aaron Lazar boasts, "That's how we do it, and we do it so good!” in the final rejoinder, he may be delivering the year’s most understated chorus in a rock song. Elsewhere, the dance-punk "Discowarts" could win over a hipster crowd, and “(This is) Sickness” gets raised in octaves and ferociousness from its previous EP version, packing a two-and-half-minute punch without as much as a hint of the irony that befalls most modern hard rock acts. Like President Bush, these guys are shameless.

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Riff architect Damian Paris has a knack for turning circus music and waltzing progressions into arena-worthy rock hooks, spilling out of his time signatures while drummer Andrew Totolos threatens to trounce him with increasingly complicated fills. Their foil is in Lazar, the composed eye of the hurricane amidst choatic numbers like “Smoke Machine.” Even when raising his voice, Lazar is more Vincent Price than Vincent Furnier, an articulate, commanding lounge-metal presence with vocal chops to boot. The less frenetic tracks, including the climactic “Clever Boy” and especially the nighthawk adventure “Louis Guthrie Wants to Kill Me,” seamlessly change the album's mood by staying imposing enough to not sound out of place. When it all ends with the primal, skull-crushing wordless jam “E.S.F.,” arguably Prime Motivator’s highlight, one imagines that these guys would be as adept at scoring a noir or a spaghetti western as they would be roughing up a roomful of Niedermeyers.

Prime Motivator has so many plot twists that you might want to paint the city red and have a beer alone at 4AM, often during the same song. It's possible that Prime Motivator will drive you nuts, but then again some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.

Buy it/burn it/chuck it scale: Buy

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