As much as Clipd Beaks likes to project an aura of distorted abandon, there's a method to its mess. Beneath the caustic bass and smeared keyboards of the band's debut, Hoarse Lords, lies some serious, seriously damaged songwriting: "Black Glass" is as sharp and hard as This Heat, although it intermittently gets run through the garbage-disposal psychedelia of early Comets On Fire, whereas the twitchy, oblong loops of "High On Charms" give way to primordial riffs and moaned melody. Even when the disc dissolves into viscous free-rock on par with Get Hustle, Hoarse Lords stays tethered to a tribal pulse and eerily singsong vocals—and most of the time, that's enough to pull it back from the brink of oblivion.

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