Despite the overt garage-rockism of Obits’ 2009 debut, I Blame You, the album didn’t seethe so much as it simmered. Still, it was a logical progression from singer-guitarist Rick Froberg’s previous outfit, Hot Snakes—a band that was, in many ways, an extension of its predecessor, Drive Like Jehu. That said, Obits’ second album, Moody, Standard, And Poor, could use a little less logic and a lot more shock. Practically indistinguishable from I Blame You, the new disc doesn’t pick up where the band left off—it starts over where it began. There’s a narcotized rage to tracks like “I Want Results” and “No Fly List,” but the group’s collision of surfy twang and proto-punk riffage too often feels perfunctory, if not flat-out uninterested with itself. It’s telling that Froberg and crew sound most energized when they’re doing their best to blatantly ape their heroes. “New August,” for example, is a soulful, forceful impersonation of The Stooges that makes much of the rest of the album seem slack. Even when treading water, Froberg turns in some jagged playing and corrosive lashes of the tongue. At this point in his career, though, a surprise or two could go a long way.
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