From a San Diego punk landmark comes yet another slice of guitar-rock might. Four years after San Diego’s Hot Snakes called it quits, singer-guitarist Rick Froberg (late of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu) has returned to helm the Brooklyn four-piece Obits. Not too much has changed: Froberg’s knotted-lung wails—and illustrated cover art—are still front and center. The riffs and rhythms still hit like all-Americans. But while the first evil licks of the opener “Widow Of My Dreams” and “Pine On” take off with a familiar pace, much of I Blame You feels like a natural—and much more varied—downshift. “Run” makes use of second vocalist Sohrab Habibion to little success, and the instrumental “I Blame You” sounds equally flat. Still, the breath-catching and attention to melody point to exciting future moves. “Two-Headed Coin” bubbles along on the leash of a hooky bassline that’s got strut to spare, and the shout-along closer “Back And Forth” blends the old juice with the new, stomping all over the line between serenade and headbanger’s delight.
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