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Menstruation Sisters - Dead at Slug's

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Artist: Menstruation Sisters

Album: Dead at Slug's

Label: Menlo Park

Review date: May. 7, 2002

Though it’s tempting to align these Aussie guitar/drums “sisters” (Lisa & Naomi Tocatly) / “brothers” (Oren Ambarchi & Nick Kamiussis) with the ughcore two-pieces stinking up/slinking down the Americool/art-school underarm/underground--Lightning Bolt, Pink & Brown, usaisamonster; prevocal natterings, no-fi/low-wave crash/bash--we can’t forget the binary of the binary: these things come in twos. We got NOW, but we also got THEN, and the Menstruation Sisters have a foot in each--or two feet, whatever.

Whether running or hopping, it’s mostly on the decade-old fumes of Forced Exposure: Pussy Galore’s knowing caveman-garage blat, Dead C’s spaces and sheeted drones, and, at best, the ultimate progression-through-regression rock/notrock power duo, Half Gentlemen-era Half Japanese. The sum of their record collections or something greater? In any case, you guessed it: they’re FOSY--Friends of Sonic Youth, with Thurston on blurb duty.

Dead at Slug’s is a good record but not a great one because of its unequally split personality. There’s the stasis and the forward motion, there’s the not-pleasure and the pleasure, but there’s not always a synthesis. Nor is there a pure single-mindedness--not Lightning Bolt’s tribal prog gallumph, not Half Jap’s total incomprehensibility. But on the best tracks, like the pair “This Morning I Kill Lion” and “Me Eat It Lunch,” with their a cappella “ah ba ah ba” nonsense into scrambled, pounding “ah ba ah ba” rave-up, the band gets it right—fused rock/noise whatever, ugly and hilarious. Even at less compellingly muddled moments, the record’s an imposing slab of thud, arced feedback, and insectoid vox, a bigger noise than you and your “sister”’d make if you “menstruated” together. Ugh.

By Sam Frank

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