Alibi V.17 No.45 • Nov 6-12, 2008 

Sonic Reducer

Keane Perfect Symmetry (Interscope)

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Whether Perfect Symmetry provides instant glee or a splitting headache depends on how much you like alt.piano rock with a glob of synthesizer. If that sounds even remotely enjoyable, Perfect Symmetry is a surefire cure for the weepies. Keane is able to write lengthy ballads that don’t wear on your patience as easily as quick, punchy morning-starters. Piano is always the main course, and you never get more than a taste of drums or a sliver of guitar. Perfect Symmetry is more new-wave obsessed than Keane’s previous two releases, but it doesn’t slip into sulkiness. The group has become comfortable with its epic yet scaled-back songsmanship, and the water’s perfect if you feel like a swim. (SM)

The Sound of Animals Fighting The Ocean and the Sun (Epitaph)

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A clusterfuck of rhythms, beats and languages is the best way to describe The Sound of Animals Fighting’s third installment. Which is not to say previous albums didn’t have that same feel. The Ocean and the Sun is like a combination of The Mars Volta and Idiot Pilot, including a mixture of somber and melancholy sounds, different tongues, and male and female vocals. Keeping their faces anonymous with animal masks, the members have stretched their arms completely around this effort by adding harder guitar riffs, bongo drums and even a cappella choruses. (TA)

Eagles of Death Metal Heart On (Downtown)

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Jess Hughes drinks testosterone and Southern Comfort for breakfast (served around 2 p.m.). Then he sweats it out under a pair of aviators in the studio with Josh Homme of QOTSA. Without growing too self-serious, this hypermasculine muscle car of a band matured its sound on Heart On. The straight stripper beats of past albums dressed up all fancy for this one, and Hughes' genteel sleaze never sounded so good. Enjoy along with the heart-shaped pancakes Denny's is serving in honor of Eagles of Death Metal. No joke. (MD)

(SM) Simon McCormick, (TA) Tiffany Alberty, (MD) Marisa Demarco