Nowadays Reagan-era punk rock political alienation sounds positively quaint. The currently reigning neocon junta and attendant Internet beheadings and newscast body counts make the cold war complaints of bands like the Minutemen and the Dead Kennedys shine like the rosiest nostalgia -- "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now," indeed. Enter the Thermals, whose recent The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop) looks the current pre-apocalyptic landscape in the face and rages tumultuously. "Blood is easy to obtain / When you have no shame," observes vocalist Hutch Harris on the pointed "Our Power Doesn't Run On Nothing," and lyrically that about sums things up. The music throughout the record is appropriately freaked out, full of stomped distortion pedals, pitiless feedback excursions and, most important under the circumstances, catchy riffs. This is angry party music for the Christian Right's pre-ordained end times. It seems a no-brainer that the Thermals' furious, sarcastic anthems can only gain impact live.
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