Music » CD Reviews

Schoolyard Heroes

Fantastic Wounds (The Control Group)

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Take three dudes, barely out of high school, who play spazzy, jagged post-hardcore. Give them a baby-faced female vocalist who combines the sugary pertness of Gwen Stefani with the shrieking of Kathleen Hanna, and you've got a recipe for punk-rock glory, right? Well, Fantastic Wounds is no world-beating triumph, but it's certainly energizing -- and more than a little bit polarizing.

Though the Heroes run through 10 songs in 38 minutes, vocalist Ryann Donnelly makes that seem like a week. Karen O, she ain't; her voice is among the most irritating in rock history -- right up there with Yoko Ono and Poly Styrene. Beyond that, though, Fantastic Wounds is halfway decent. The band is airtight, firing barbed riffs in every direction as the drummer keeps it all together with whipcrack snare action and thumping kickdrum. Some of the track titles ("Battlestar Anorexia," "Centaur: Half-Man Half-Motorcycle") are witty, though Donnelly makes it hard to figure out whether the lyrics measure up. They're all variations on the disc's killer 62-second opener, "Body Shots," anyway.

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