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TODD - Comes To Your House

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Artist: TODD

Album: Comes To Your House

Label: Southern

Review date: Apr. 30, 2006

If any of the characters that TODD's songs evoke (based upon the odd intelligible lyric) came to your house, you might not be up for guests again for a while. Indeed, their latest could be the perfect accompaniment to such a get-together: you’ve got cigarette burns in the carpet; torn and smashed furniture; holes in the wall; an unflushed commode; (at least) one unplanned pregnancy; and the sickly sweet odor of Hamm's and Black Label evaporating from most every exposed household surface.

It's with that kind of disregard to your person and property that TODD's second full-length (preceded by their Purity Pledge album, a 7”, and a curious EP on Bulb that gets barely a mention on even the band's own website) tears from the speakers. The band seethes, supersaturated with distortion, heralded with howled dirthead/meathead vocals and propelled by a bulldozing rhythm section often laced with even more distorted clipping. Like Clockcleaner's recent return to the mid-’90s abattoir of groups like the Cows and Killdozer, TODD straddles that boundary between true menace and sneering, near-caricature in a way that harks back to that same delicately balanced aesthetic shared by a few notables from the Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go corrals. It only follows: Guitarist/singer Craig Clouse served time in AmRep's Hammerhead before relocating to the UK and assembling TODD with his wife, keyboardist/vocalist Fifi Cernosek. Likewise, the group's nods to the crashing, quasi-industrial trappings of the likes of Cop Shoot Cop and the UK's Head of David keep them a healthy spitting distance from good-time stoner boogie.

Comes to Your House plays the goof card early, opening with a weird, warbly loop of what sounds like a sea-shanty chorus. a la something from Locust Abortion Technician (note: another approximate point of reference). Two vicious follow-ups, "A Killer Grows" and "Chair Fight" have more in common with pair of meat hammers than rock songs. "The Knife Whisperer" finds the band appropriately guest-voiced by Oxbow's Eugene Robinson, whose Salacious Crumb caterwauls paired with a monolithic crush of a riff takes things to a new level of psychosis. And, you get the added bonus of knowing that the tune's about stabbing a dog to death, according to the band's website. The Ministry-esque, everything-in-the-red "Black Skull" scrapes along propelled by a burbling sequencer pattern, and "Council Member" suggests early Voivod arranged for a Boeing 767 engine. Success.

After a couple of hardcore pounders, "To Do List" explores what passes for the band's gentler side with a jangly, dissonant guitar fugue and a spoken vocal (that sounds suspiciously inspired by Big Black's "Things to Do Today"). The album closes with a weaker trio of one-trick-pony cuts that, if anything, remind the listener of the fallibility of an otherwise frightening band.

Metal? Sort of. Heavy? YES. And for all of TODD's allusions to the ’90s noise-rock camp, we certainly ain't talkin' lifeless nostalgia here. There's still a few veins of gold in them hills – and it takes a veteran of that scene of creatively sick fucks to best divine what's left over. Stay well away from the rogues' gallery described herein, though – just listen to the record and spare yourself the cleanup.

By Adam MacGregor

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