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Das Not Compute

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Album Review

Division of Laura Lee battens its hatches tighter and shades the milk darker for Das Not Compute. Per Stålberg can still sound like Ian Astbury fronting a post-punk outfit (especially on "Endless Factories"). But in the two years since Black City, DOLL has refined its songcraft while honing its cynicism. Opener "Does Compute" buzzes and hums like a microprocessor flirting with an amplifier, while "Dirty Love" turns up the treble and pokes Sonic Youth in the eyes. (The latter also features some snide backup help from the Cardigans' Nina Persson.) Its title is the only thing overt about "Loveless"' My Bloody Valentine referencing, as the track pulses with an energy that group didn't access, fashioning familiar electric guitar squelch into a tinfoil lightning rod of punk rock rhythm. The same technique guides the majority of Das Not Compute, which rarely pauses to take a breath. When it does, as with the reverb and swirling guitars of "To the Other Side," both political and social lyrical sloganeering burn their way to the surface. Still, for the most part Compute seems intent on delivering wiry and economical songs that vet well, deliver quickly, and stay the course. The acerbic "Sneaking Up on Mr. Prez" is an example of that, as is the aforementioned "Dirty Love." "Q2" might make the strongest statement of the album. "I don't give a f*ck," Stålberg spits. "No matter what." It's a declaration of DOLL's ideological bent, but also its DIY nature. What it lacks in discernible hooks, Das Not Compute accounts for with tautness and subcutaneous bad attitude.


Formed: 1997 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Swedish garage punk quartet Division of Laura Lee emerged in the mid- to late '90s, assembled out of spare parts in the Swedish hardcore music underground and indebted to the sounds of Washington, D.C.'s punk scene. Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Per Stålberg, guitarist David Ojala, bassist Jonas Gustavsson, and drummer Håkan Johansson, the quartet was soon playing shows wherever it could. The band debuted on wax in 1998, issuing the There Is a First Time for Everything EP as well as a split...
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