Stroking the Moon (Alternative Tentacles)

Deadweight 

Stroking the Moon (Alternative Tentacles)

San Francisco's Deadweight is a new kind of power trio. Consisting of a violinist (Ben Barnes), a cellist (Sam Bass) and a drummer (Paulo Baldi), Deadweight peddles hard rock with swerving torque and orchestral grandeur. As expected with such an odd lineup, these guys exhibit prog-rock tendencies, but the playing is muscular and linear enough to get mosh mooks to pump their fists. Balancing dexterity with power and kookiness with cockiness, Deadweight composes songs that swagger like Soundgarden but slips in enough arty dynamic shifts to thrill music-school eggheads. The band's only real weakness is Barnes' annoyingly opaque lyrics, sung with Ozzy's demonic inflection and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson's pseudo-profundity. (Piss on a star so wishes sound clear is one egregious example.) Deleting the vocals would drastically improve Deadweight's listenability, but the group should nevertheless be commended for raising aggro rock's IQ and expanding its sound palette.

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