Following my post of this devastating Downtown NY trio's hair-raising debut (that one issued under their own names: Ned Rothenberg, Elliott Sharp & Samm Bennett), this second outing finds them adopting their debut's title as the band's official moniker and signing on with SST records for it's release; not necessarily such an odd fit, as SST were frequently fishing around in these sorta avant waters circa the late 80's, with several other Elliott Sharp titles issued by them around the same time. This second go 'round reconfigures the components most prominent on their debut (Rotherberg's endless circular-breathing spirals, the cantankerous post-No Wave detuned modern primitivism brought to bear by Sharp and the dizzying polyrhythmic foundation laid by drummer Samm Bennett's octopoidal approach to his kit), tempering some of their debut's more maddeningly (albeit beautifully so) atonal whinny-'n'-grind characteristics along with jettisoning the Magic Band and Lalo Schifrin-isms that constituted it's peak moments. Instead, many of these aspects have been rejiggered into an approach thats far more cohesive song for song, but falls slightly short of the sheer peaks of exalted genius found on the best bits of their debut. This is hardly to suggest that what's afoot is anything less than remarkable, though their remit here decidedly steers this closer to the terra firma inhabited by some of their Downtown NY contemporaries of the era.
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