Review Summary: Cougars, Not Kittens
Atlanta's Whores. have already made a name for themselves with their ferocious debut EP, Ruiner
. The fierce intensity that propelled that record finds an even more focused incarnation on the trio's brand new 6-track release. Even though it's somewhat baffling that they've put in another EP rather than a legitimate full-length, there's no question that the feral aggression, which is an indispensable ingredient of their style, works best in short bursts. Thus, instead of risking overdose Clean
is impressively succinct, blasting through a series of familiar noise-rock tropes with admirable tightness, but also displaying enough confidence and verve to rise the trio to the first rank of Amphetamine Reptile worshipers. Unlike many of them, Whores. manage to put their own stamp on the genre popularized by Unsane, Cows and Tar in the 1990s. They effectively incorporate massive sludge metal into scuzzy noise-rock foundations. Throbbing bass lines and combative drum fills are augmented with monolithic guitar riffs that make the group's output crushingly heavy. On top of that are Christian Lembach's tortured vocals which imbue frustrated, often self-depreciating lyrics with spiteful vitriol.
Opener 'Baby Bird' merges all these elements with potent hooks, making for a ravenous anthem that entices with gargantuan riffs and perfectly timed transitions. Lembach almost blows his lungs out screaming the track's ecstatic, oddly uplifting mantra: “I have these terrible dreams / I'll fall from the nest / I'll break and I'm free.” Following on, 'Last Looks' feels more mechanic in its bass-driven sonic onslaught while still boasting an infectious chorus ingrained in alternative rock from the 1990s. The grooving catchiness is also a focal attribute of 'Cougars, Not Kittens.' The act's most majestic track to date benefits from its slowed-down tempo, providing the EP with a welcome detour into a more visceral, if no less ferocious musical territory. On the other hand, 'Blue Blood' offers yet another taut groove which, along with vicious shouted-out verses, reveals the outfit's hardcore punk tendencies.
Enhanced by the rock solid production of Ryan Boesch (Melvins, Helmet, Tomahawk), the second release from Whores. delivers the sting of dismal paranoia with its dynamic collection of wretched tunes that steer clear of any frills or gimmicks. Almost entirely abiding by linear song structures, Clean
may not appeal to those who seek experimentation in heavy music. However, the trio's ultra-loud brand of noise rock seethes with enough unbridled anger, songwriting dexterity and alluring hooks to exert a lasting impact. Here's hoping their next offering will be more expansive both in terms of content and sound.