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coverpic flag US - Texas - Full Moon 34 - 07/28/99

Boxcar Satan
Days Before the Flood
Compulsive Records

One of my first initiations into the world of San Antonio rock was through Boxcar Satan, back in one of their earliest configurations. That was seven years ago. And after nearly nine years of playing and packing the denizens in at Tacoland, and whatever other club has had the honor to fall to the wayside of time since then (places like Winner's Circle, Sluggo's, Wacky's are first to rise up like Shiner Bock-embalmed zombies in my head), here is Boxcar's first digital full-length release, following two singles, and some bit roles in local comps. And to those who have ever had the pleasure of their ears getting blasted and smashed in by Boxcar's live shows, the CD will be a pleasant reminder of lost weekends, but only if the tinnitus ever gets turned down any lower than 10 on your own amped head.

The intro is a small collage of knifed Dobro and Balinese monkey chants, which at the point of spinning out of control, instead drops you into the collapsing lung tightness of Nag. Mike James' bashing threatens to smash apart the drum cage, bringing down the skeletal blues structure in the process, only to have everything emerge tight 'n shiny on the other side. Sanford Allen shatters his glass fingers everywhere, spitting trebly and trembling twisted crystal shapes that add prickly barbs on top of the rolling thunder of Danny Edward's bass, which swings bloody and hard right in front of your swollen, stolen face.

The live shows and the shoddy PA systems always have covered this fact, but Sanford's voice, once elevated over the din of racket and skronk of the live shows, proves that he has as big of a hunk of Van Vliet's tracheotomotized trout mask throat as anyone in the field. And just wait until he peels off the gorilla suit and slurps the elbow soup of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' frenzied Feast of the Mau Mau for the CD's (and most live shows') finale.

Days Before the Flood stays pretty close to the roots which grow from the beer-blackened floor of their live shows, allowing for the most lucid annunciation of Sanford's croak and sneer ever captured by ears in daylight, and exposure to the apocalyptic rumbles of the band at not so dangerous levels, as well as some sugar and spikes from the sax and piano of James Cobb on a few tracks. Now the warnings of what really happened in the last days before the flood (mind you that San Antonio is a river city, prone to being drowned come every hard rain) can be made out over the bloody din.

Write: Compulsive Records, PO Box 15440 San Antonio, Texas 78212, USA

Copyright © 1999 Andy Beta e-mail address

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