We’re still not sure what “Rome plows” are, but they’re coming to get ya’ at the beginning of this guillotine guitar classic–Drive Like Jehu‘s last disc before the band split off into such splendid John Reis vehicles as Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes and the recently-minted Night Marchers. (Frontman Rick Froberg finally emerged with a new project called Obits earlier this year.)
While we’re pretty sure there’s people who’d vehemently disagree, Yank Crime‘s got to be one of the greatest riff-raking records of all time. Not a melodic, interlocking display of axe-grinding prowess like Television’s Marquee Moon; we’re talking epic firework finale pieces that spend minutes at a time sounding like exploding bottles of lightning. Hell, by the time Froberg howls “nobody’s listening, and nobody gives a fuck what you go do with your life” over the piping-hot chords of “Do You Compute,” we’re already ready to overturn all the tables in self-titled‘s office and declare war on, well, everything. The main reason being that Froberg doesn’t sound like he’s spewing emo-tastic bullshit; dude sounds like he’s two seconds from cracking throughout this entire album.
That’s the thing that separates Drive Like Jehu from all of the bands that have ripped off their riffs in the 14 (!) years since this swan song: they know how to harness, nay, exploit tension to the point where the listener feels like a spring-loaded can of fake snakes. Basically, if you don’t feel absurdly alive after hearing this album, you better check your pulse.