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The Afflictions - Peotone

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Artist: The Afflictions

Album: Peotone

Label: Captain Spazz

Review date: Feb. 16, 2003

Affliction Affection

Do you ever find yourself wondering about the extras on late-night basic cable? I'm talking two-in-the-morning TNT, TBS, USA – all the party-people from the three House Party movies, Weird Science, and Revenge of the Nerds? They're the guys and gals who show up with the beer after the parents leave, the ones inexplicably accompanied by barnyard animals that piss on the suede furniture: you know, cool people. Except, they're not really having fun – George Clinton and P Funk aren't actually playing a house party (the instruments aren't even plugged in.) Yet, there must be some great music on in the background helping the kids out, making it easier to pretend-party. The Afflictions’s Peotone EP makes for just such music. It's 14 frenzied minutes of the hot hot rock that in some idyllic world might serve as the soundtrack to your life. Have no fear, Chicago's The Afflictions are here.

Okay, so maybe I'm a sucker for nostalgia. But in certain ways, the Afflictions actually do resemble a "party band" - I don't think I've ever been to one of their many Chicago shows without lead singer Jeremiah McIntyre jumping out into the audience to either dance or wrestle with an innocent bystander. But Peotone (the band's first CD, as well as the inaugural release on new Chicago label Captain Spazz) is a testament to the band's unique take on the derivative – more than simple ear candy, these are songs for movers, shakers and drinkers alike. The band employs an unusual combination of instruments to create their sound, a blend of garage, punk and funk, topped off with a healthy dose of 1970's New York scenester attitude. The groove-oriented organ stylings of Janet Emmert and booming tenor sax of Kelly Argyle featured prominently on the EP's best tracks, "Let's Make a Mess" and "Janet Style" lend an extra spark to the band's strong sense of pop sensibility and song structure. McIntyre's lyrical approach conveys a wry sense of humor reminiscent of Tom Verlaine, while the band's sense of timing and dynamics afford their formulaic foundation an air of sophistication. And I would be remiss to ignore the steel backbone created by drummer Philip Montoro and guitarist Joe Cannon, a solid rhythmic base that creates the space for Emmert and Argyle to work their magic.

Attention to detail on Peotone is also a plus: extra touches, like the handclaps and background cooing of "Mess", demonstrate that the Afflictions are not just a great live band, but have a promising future in the studio as well

If you're having trouble finding Peotone at your local music purveyor, try visiting www.afflictions.net

By Jeff Rufo

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