Not since the coming of Lightning Bolt has there been a twosome bustling to the hilt with frenetic obliteration like Microwaves. Hailing from Pittsburgh, guitarist David Kuzy and drummer John Roman have been generating no wave-juiced, skronk-heavy noise-rock since 2002 when their first album was released. Microwaves has morphed betwixt duo and trio (former bassists include a current member of Steeltown behemoths Don Caballero, Zombi’s Steve Moore and Dusted writer Adam MacGregor), but as evidenced by Psionic Impedance, the twosome don’t need a third member to beef up its noise-fried art-punk twitchiness.
The first eight seconds of Psionic Impedance sets the tone for the entire record. Claustrophobic, electronic-processed bawling and drum abuse segues into the maniacal, speedball guitar riff static of “Hammerspace.” A distant, sloppier cousin to Don Cab but utilizing a similar “time signature change galore” approach, Microwaves operate on all cylinders from the get-go, cramming endless clusters of six-string licks, cheap electronics burps and screamo racket into its short-song offensive. (Only three of the 15 tunes here exceed the three-minute mark.)
Shades of Black Eyes-like ear-splitting shrieks and angular choppiness litter the bulk of Psionic Impedance, but the duo is at its best when channeling the futuristic new wave herky-jerk of Devo. “Ne Plus Ultra,” “Vampire Me” and “Shred Vacuum System” are all demented synth bruisers in the vein of “Girl U Want.” Fittingly, Microwaves’ cover of Devo’s “Penetration (in the Centerfold)” proves a pulsating doozy, arguably besting Pussy Galore’s take on Dial M for Motherfucker.