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The Makers

Stripped (Kill Rock Stars)

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It seems that the Makers' habit of bending their image/sound to the trend of the moment (first '60s frat rock, then '70s punk, then glam boys) has finally landed them in the pile of generic trash-rock bands clogging up the $3 used bin at Coconuts.

On this release, a stopgap until their next record, the Makers have rerecorded old favorites and tossed in some rarities. The band has certainly mastered the garage-rock template: Songs like "Tear Apart," "Little Piece of Action," and "Four Button Suit" have a good fuzzy gargle. But ultimately what's held the band back from its goal of moving units is Mike Makers' vox. He strains to emote "sleaze," never hitting full throttle, leaving his bandmates and their deft rocking feeling like frustrated troops waiting to ditch their confused general's orders.

And how about Kill Rock Stars putting this out with a pic of the band members brandishing guns, with the press release claiming that Stripped is "a freakin' bloodbath" -- though something with more right to the claim, like the great new Dwarves record, would never be allowed on their prim label. But hey, these kinds of "Let's-show-the-kids-how-it's-really-done" missteps happen to the best of 'em; no surprise that the worst of 'em aren't immune either.

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