Music » Livewire

Viva L'American Death Ray

With the Detroit Cobras and Geraldine. Saturday, May 24, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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Okay, so you're an unapologetic retro-reveling band that's stranded and bored down Memphis way, 'cause truth is, it ain't no rock-and-roll town anymore. So you put out a couple of albums, tour, and then get tossed the usual "It's all been done before" barbs. You could stew in it and believe that old line, or you could craft a clamor so frenzied and full of swagger that it comes on like the next beer in the six-pack -- sure, you know what it tastes like, but this one's stone-cold fresh.

That's American Death Ray all over -- Lou Reed-like vocals, Roxy Music sax-honkin', Modern Lovers' broken-heart beats. One listen brings about a feeling not dissimilar to the one sparked when the aforementioned influences were first felt, mainly because the songwriting is strong and there's a sexy swing to this thing.

You know how else you stay fresh? Switch up your sound onstage. Recent A.D.R. performances have included almost all new tunes, sans sax, and with a stingier bite and beat than their two Sympathy for the Record Industry CDs let on.

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