When Chris Thomson spews out "what this town needs is some rock- rock" on the opening track of Skull Kontrol's debut EP, he truly means it. After serving time in such avant punk outfits as Circus Lupus, Cupid Car Club, and Universal Order of Armageddon, the members of Skull Kontrol have now reverted to simple, straight-up hard rock. Contextually this is a disappointment, even if several of the quartet's new songs (especially "New Rock Critic" and "Robot Man") burn bright- ly enough to leave some satisfying blisters and scars. Skull Kontrol's mess of clunky riffs, acerbic vocals, and jackhammer beats was committed to tape by Juan "Cholera" (nee Carrera) at the Pirate House-a 16 track studio in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC. Like other recent Carrera recordings (Faraquet, Cranium, Monorchid) "Deviate Beyond All Means of Capture" strikes a solid balance between sonic clarity and raw, garage-y spontaneity. However, guitarist Andy Coronado's (ex-Monorchid) rudimentary fretwork-Skull Kontrol's weakest link-is jacked up so high in the mix that it nearly obscures the rest of the band. While this is definitely not the most auspicious seventeen minutes in DC's punk history, Deviate Beyond All Means of Capture is still not without its ragged and distorted charms. (Touch and Go Records, P.O. Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625)

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