When it works

Karl Keuhn and Taylor Hagg have been friends since forever. And after years of disparate musical paths, they decided to collaborate for this set. This is the sort of thing that tends to end badly. Not so this time. Not even close.

Family Bike
Everything You Own Is Anagrammed
(Egg Hunt/Negative Fun)

Hagg's drumming is lithe and muscular; he provides spectacular momentum to every song and the album in general. Keuhn adds discordant guitars and whatever else comes to mind, and then he kicks out some spectacular oversharing on the vocal end. The closes thing that comes to mind is early Heatmiser (Elliot Smith's band before he became ELLIOT SMITH).

The result is a punchy, extremely personal effort that should have been an embarrassment. Somehow all the excess (including needle-pinning that tends to shred the ears) is exactly what these songs need. Indeed, if the foot ever came off the throttle I think this album would have stalled immediately.

This is the sort of album that I heard time and again back in the mid-90s. Exceptionally creative folks who record without fear. The epitome of this style is the Wrens, of course, but there are many more on the list. Family Bike can add its name to the roll. Listen, but only if you can bear the intensity.

Jon Worley

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