Retox – [Album]

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The day Justin Pearson stops forging underground supergroups will be a sad day in the music world. JP, as he is known by his loyal subjects, has nourished an entire sub-culture within the San Diego music scene. As co-owner of record label Three One G, author of two books, and member of too many bands to keep track, Pearson is carving his way into the heart of San Diego’s music culture.

The newest offering from Pearson (playing as frontman on vocals) is Retox. Their first full-length album, Ugly Animals, was released in mid-August and has been burning holes in my ears ever since. The guys in the band, Gabe Serbian; Justin Pearson; Thor Dickey; Michael Crain; and Brian Evans, have an intertwined and somewhat inbred roster of bands they’ve played in, The Locust, Head Wound City, Holy Molar, All Leather, Some Girls, and The Festival of Dead Deer just to name a few.

Ugly Animals explodes from the very moment you hit the play button, with frantic guitars reminiscent of the hardcore from the early Nineties and desperately hammering drums thrown at you without pause. JP’s vocals are less strange than some of his previous projects (see Holy Molar), but only less strange if you are prone to considering tortured screams akin to someone who’s just swallowed a fistful of shattered glass as “normal”.

One of the best nuances to Retox’s sound is the spacey reverb- and delay-soaked guitar interludes that they inject between the choppy and disjointed riffs of most of their songs. “Thirty Cents Shy Of A Quarter” and “A Bastard On Father’s Day” both contain good examples of these little breaks. They give you just enough time to swallow that lump in your throat before the madness resumes. Gabe’s drumming is worlds more straightforward pattern-wise than say, The Locust, and he pulls it off fantastically, proving that he’s a master at just about any style of music you throw at him.

Some may complain that the album is a bit short, finishing up at just around thirteen minutes total. Like most bands on Three One G’s roster (Geronimo excluded) Retox like to keep it short and sweet. I mean, you can only kick in someone’s skull for so long before their brain turns into complete mush, right? Listening through this album is a lot like being run down by a mack truck; you’re subjected to wave after wave of beatings with precious glimpses of light between, and before you know it you’re spit out the back end bruised and bleeding. The biggest difference being that you’ll more than likely not just survive the experience, but enjoy it as well.



Ugly Animals
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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