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Review: Local punks GØGGS are fast, sloppy and distorted on self-titled debut

Review: Local punks GØGGS are fast, sloppy and distorted on self-titled debut
"She Got Harder" is the first song on the self-titled new album by Los Angeles rock band GØGGS. (In the Red Records)

On its debut album, Los Angeles three-piece sludge rock band GØGGS tears through 10 songs in a little more than 25 minutes, laying waste via lyrics about a Glendale junkyard, the assassination of a doctor, some sort of needle swap and the local proto-punk band Würm.

At least according to the titles. Screamer Chris Shaw's gnarled garble nearly drowns inside the rumble.

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The band features prolific local garage rock king Ty Segall, but this isn't the artist at his hook-happy best. Rather, a drumming Segall teams with collaborators-guitarists Charles Mootheart (Fuzz, CFM) and Ex-Cults' Shaw to illustrate how riffs, pounds and gibberish can be combined to make powerful arguments.

Which is to say, don’t expect to see Diplo remixes of this stuff.

It's as dense as concrete, built not with drives and transistors, but with chords and cords. Fans of Segall are likely not surprised. As one of the most ambitious and productive rock dudes in the area, he has spearheaded a movement that connects loud and fast punk, garage rock, metal and hardcore with little regard to overlap or bleed-through.

Opening song "Falling In" is constructed atop a three-chord building block that never wavers, moving with a Motorhead-ian sense of purpose. "We are not scared," yells Shaw, as if defiantly facing down death itself. By the end of the song, Segall has pitched such a percussion fit that you wonder whether he limped away on crutches.

What's lacking? Nuance. Beauty. Empathy. Happiness. These are sour sounds made by apparently bummed guys, so don't expect songs to arrive bearing bouquets. The only things warm and fuzzy about the record are the bass-lines, often fed through distortion boxes to create scratchy, sibilant overtones. So drenched and sloppy sounding is Shaw's guitar amp that you wonder whether he didn't fish it out of a lagoon.

By the time the band rumbles into album-closer "Glendale Junkyard," its engine may be glowing and the radiator overheating, but somehow the wreckage has stayed intact, no worse for the wear.

There's a lot of terrible music out there. For tips on the stuff that's not, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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