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Stripped

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Album Review

The Makers' first release for Kill Rock Stars features re-recorded versions of songs originally done between 1991 and 1998. It was the veteran garage punk act's switchblade-chomping Estrus era, before the richer scope of Sub Pop releases like Rock Star God and Strangest Parade. Those albums were welcome after almost a decade of trashy, sweaty, two-chord stompers. But on Stripped, it's cool to hear their tighter songcraft, glammier overtones, and — most of all — more volatile instrumentation applied to the Makers' formative material. "Let Him Try" (from 1994's Howl) was a tinny nod to the '60s frat rock tradition; it's reborn here as a twin-guitar scowl comparable to the Go's own updated rock swagger. "Tear Apart," "Fair Game," and "Take a Ride" all come from the strong 1997 effort Hunger, an album that suggested the Makers' turn toward something sonically meatier. As such, Stripped doesn't have to re-imagine them completely. But the new recordings (courtesy of Jack Endino) give Mike Maker's vocal an impressive depth. He's not there just to sneer tell-offs at the audience; instead, he teams with lead guitarist Jamie Frost to give these recordings real dynamic range. That's what Stripped offers throughout, to both rookies and veteran listeners — versions of the Makers' storied and sleazy past that make a real commitment to craft. Some might equate less dirt with weaker vitality. But in reality, the fuller sound on these trashy classics only makes the Makers' swagger sweeter.

Stripped, The Makers
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