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Epsilons - Epsilons

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Artist: Epsilons

Album: Epsilons

Label: Retard Disco

Review date: Jul. 26, 2006

These days, with so many scenes and conduits for distribution, it can take years for DIY efforts to pay off. By the time most bands gather an audience, the members are old enough to be taking the bar exam. So it is signifgant that the four Epslions are still under twenty. It's more significant that they're pulling off garage punk as good as any ever made. But it's really something that they've got a complete sound, when they're at an age when most promising teen rockers are probably distracted with pop-punk, dance-punk and rap-metal influences that they're going to shed later on.

Part of the success of Epsilons is that there's nothing pure about them. This kind of music is usually the provence of gearheads and trainspotters obsessed with retubing valve ampilfiers or tracking down mint-condition LPs- not the best set of habits for capturing the howl of Sixties dorks trying to grab a piece of the Rolling Stones' action. Epsilons drop lines like "Girl take off your clothes, don't forget those pantyhose" and it's a little rougher than you'd have gotten in the Sixties and a lot hornier than you'd hear in most revival bands. It's like the contemporary garage millionaires have provided just enough envy and inspiration for a fresh group of dorks to try to get in on the action.

Like a many of the standout punks of the last few years, they top their sound with cheapo synthesizer. Their take on it doesn't evoke New Wave. It's more like a knife that cuts through the fuzz better than Farfisa. The songs stick to sloppy and shuffling go-go beats, and nearly every lyric has a line which ends with "GIRL!" They drag it through the skatepunk crud of their Orange County upbringing. "Snap Crackle Pop!" has thrashy guitars which grind along like D.I. or Dr. Know, but the Casio turns the song title into a hook, bursting and bubbling above the distortion. The skeletons of their songs could have come from 1965, but in execution, it's neither a recreation or a self-concious update.

Beyond finding rhymes for "pantyhose", they don't have much to say. The album opens with the lines "The train is coming / coming real soon." However, that's proceeded by a strummed acoustic false start, a lilt that dissolves as the drums come in, and is obliterated for the rest of the set. They don't let their shortcomings work against them. They know when to quit a riff or drop in an unexpected turn.

So even though the songs hang tight to the garage genre, there's something eccentric about Epsilons- Ty Segall's nasal voice cuts as sharply as the keyboards, and with the hollow reverb and out-of-control distortion, it brings to mind the Swell Maps. Two members switch off on the drum duties. Right now, they're leaving out the right stuff. They could develop into something very original very quickly, once they've worked through the teenage kicks.

By Ben Donnelly

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