Picks and Pans Review: The Gift

updated 12/18/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/18/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Bullet LaVolta

Some people may be startled by the feral tone of this debut in which Bullet LaVolta sounds like some rampaging Visigoths on a weekend pass. Bostonians won't be surprised. They've heard it all before.

This young Beantown quintet released The Gift independently early this year. The album sold 7,000 copies and led to the band signing with a major label. So far nothing unusual. What makes The Gift interesting is that the band's new, major label—RCA—didn't sanitize the group's music before reissuing the record, though two previously unissued cuts were added.

Instead RCA wisely allowed these punky roosters to come out scratching and crowing. Bullet LaVolta—the name comes from poet Marianne Moore's entry in a contest to name the new car that became the Edsel—presents a ferocious, elemental rock. The snarling guitar of Clay Tarver and the indignant vocals of Yukki Gipe rip unfiltered through the air. No fancy production values here. No production values at all. The album was essentially recorded live in the studio.

Yet, for all their rawness and melodic disregard, songs like "Little Tiny Pieces," "Chalkdust" and the title track have a sincerity that matches anything else that's come out this year. (Taang/RCA)

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