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The Linus Pauling Quartet

Songs of the Cretaceous

If you listen to any one thing I say as a critic in these pages, then listen to this: Songs of the Cretaceous, by Houston's finest psych dorks, the Linus Pauling Quartet, is 2005's best local release, bar none. Released as a very limited MP3 CDR, it contains everything they've ever recorded and then some. What you end up with is all five of their studio releases, as well as singles, rarities, new stuff and demos. Also included is all the artwork from the original releases, band photos and a selection of dramatically cool flyers. And if you don't get how to handle an MP3 CDR, they have included help info to guide you through this monster.

Linus is a psych band that mixes the heavy, plodding riffing of Black Sabbath -- whom they emphatically insist they are not -- with the kitchen-sink silliness of the Butthole Surfers, while stopping damn near everywhere along the way. No one in Houston is as intelligent or as stupid as these guys, and were they to take themselves even the least bit seriously they could destroy the world with their brand of infernal devil music. There is always an undercurrent of self-conscious ironic detachment to LPQ songs, but hearing the whole shooting match all in one package, it becomes obvious that even when they goof off (and perhaps especially when they goof off) they tend to approach brilliance while managing to thumb their noses in the general direction of brilliance itself. The oldest of this material dates back 11 years, and still no one can touch these guys locally. Thuggish dirges and gargantuan solos are on open and blatant display here. Sure, it's sprawling and plodding at times, but I happen to love it all the more for it.

Add this band to your list of local treasures, and go see their live debacle whenever they play again -- you won't be disappointed. For my money, nothing around town is even vaguely as good or as interesting as this release, so go sell the rest of your local CDs and use the cash to buy this one; it's only ten bucks and worth every penny. Contact the band at www.worshipguitars.org/LP4 and demand yours today.

 
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