PET LAMB Sweaty Handshake (Roadrunner)

"This album really is beyond me", wrote Kev, "I thought that you might like it". Well, anything to oblige! Pet Lamb are a Dublin MelodicNoiseCore quartet (it says here), hotly tipped by Therapy? and veterans of support slots on tours by Babes In Toyland and the superb Trumans Water. This, there debut album, includes gentle, reflective songs called things like "Asshole Agony Aunt", "Fun With Maggots" and "The Bastard". Get the picture yet?

Well, it’s not quite that bad! They manage to kick up a hell of a low-fi noise, with guitars all over the place and vocals that sound like they’re coming from the wrong side of a violent storm, but in a couple of places the standard issue "blistering bombast/frustrated noise/frothy speed-melodies" gets channelled towards a tune of no little merit and the resultant cacophony is surprisingly addictive. "Black Mask", for example, wisely the lead track of their last EP, is excellent, even managing to shake off it’s "Teen Spirit"-alike intro, and "Little Meaner" and "Where Did Your Plans Go" are (comparatively) mild enough to go down a storm in a student disco near you. But my main problem with "Sweaty Handshake" is that it lacks the clarity of focus for their rage to actually make much sense: without a greater control of dynamics they can’t help but sound like Done Lying Down with a very bad cold played on a turntable with a very blunt stylus. Still, I could never understand the appeal of Therapy? either, and Pet Lamb win millions of extra points for covering an Alex Chilton song on a free single available with initial pressings.