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Culturcide: Year One

Culturcide was a pop band that liked to play around with noise. Sometimes that noise overwhelmed their pop's shimmer and spark; other times, it lurked just under the surface. Year One, a re-release of the Houston band's 1982 debut, is awash in pop reference points, from disco to country to classic rock, although none of these touchstones is so overt as to be definitive. When Perry Web, Dan Workman and Jim Craine decided to move Culturcide out of the studio, they wanted something different, something dangerous; they started with a pretty simple formula of harsh, dissonant noise and bizarre vocals. Then Workman decided he wanted to rock. The result combines the pull of familiarity with the shove of the unfamiliar. Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than on "Terrorist," which pits a classic-rock guitar hook against shuddering fuzz and trilling sci-fi sounds; Perry's bizarre nasal vocals sound like a cross between Lou Reed and John Lydon. Try as you might, you can't separate the noise from the pop, or vice versa. This might not be pleasing to staunch fans of either camp, but it's definitely far more interesting than either taken on its own. While a quarter of a century has certainly placed Year One further away from the fringes, it hasn't put a dent in the fact that what Culturcide was doing, what their music still does, is thrilling. How many bands can say that they can welcome, and offend, both noise fans and pop-radio junkies in equal measure?

 
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