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Album Review

It's shocking that this Chicago institution's latest re-formation has them on ongoing speaking terms for three years, let alone making their first LP in 21 — let alone it being equally as good as their remarkable past! It had been said that they would revisit 1984's first LP For Ever Grounded, a midpoint between two earlier EPs' blistering punk (see Remains Nonviewable) and the post-punk brilliance of 1985's Fly on a Wire and 1986's Ink. But on Reside, third guitarist Robert McNaughton fuses Earl Letiecq's meaty, Ruts-like early roar/charge with the later Robert O'Connor's more ringing chordings. One is transformed by McNaughton's spitting tour de force of darting, flashing, shimmering, and shaking. This may be the most headphones-demanding loud guitar record in years, to get McNaughton's full soundwaves on rippin' songs such as "Haz-Mat" and "Night Train." Meanwhile, the three older members return, and 2007's Effigies again perfect their rock-solid, slamming mix of punk's power rush and post-punk's rhythmic approaches (from Gang of Four, PIL, and Killing Joke). Steve Economou is still a "leadfoot" for his pulverizing kick-pedal, lending the Effigies their overriding strength. Paul Zamost is as nimble on bass as Economou is punishing. And the band's uniqueness remains frontman John Kezdy's uncompromising vocals and supreme intelligence — rare for any rock band. One of the best '80s lyric sheets has lost nothing in two decades as a prosecutor. If anything, his inside view has sharpened his revulsion for his region's systemic corruption dating to Al Capone, once expressed in "We're da Machine" and "Quota," as the fed up "This is war!" declarations of "Guv'ner" make clear. But he's more philosophical in his 40s, retaining his cut-through-the-BS attitude, judging from the self-incriminating "The Full Weight of Failure" and "Scarecrow," the revenge-alluding "Cold Plate," and the biting-sober romance-soured judgment of "Baby Sleeps Alone." Contemporaries such as Buzzcocks, Radio Birdman, Mission of Burma, and T.S.O.L. had already proven that bands could regain bygone inspiration on LP. But by picking up on 1986, not 1981, thus seizing their own thread never continued, the Effigies have no modern stylistic peers. And like Ink, it will take several plays before the layers of Reside's smarts and subtleties become as apparent as their strident authority.

Customer Reviews

As relevant as ever in 2007

Maybe more so, given the state of affairs in our country at the moment. Tracks such as " The Full weight of Failure", "Night Train" and "Scarecrow" confirm that 20 years on, the world of The Effigies remains as urgent and dark as ever. Purchase "Reside" and see why these guys are icons in the Chicago punk scene.

Effigies are Back

The effigies are back and they haven't changed the sound that along with Naked Raygun made you wish you lived in Chicago. Much better than you would expect from a band that hasn't made an album in over twenty years. It's way better than their last album, but if you haven't heard Remains Nonviewable pick that one up first.

Unbelieveably good

I'm thrilled with this album. Great songwriting, shimmering guitars, not an ounce of fat I was just complaining to a friend that new music doesn't thrill me the way it used to, like remember buying a great 45 and playing it over and over. Then Reside by the Effigies I've been listening to it all week, jumping for joy. Play Hazmat at 10 when you get up in the morning--thrilling!


Genre: Metal

The Effigies were an important part of Chicago's seminal post-hardcore punk scene, along with Big Black, Naked Raygun, and Strike Under. Their legacy isn't as heralded as the former two, in part because they didn't push so many boundaries, either thematically or stylistically. But that assessment shortchanges the Effigies as a vital, intelligent, clearly capable band, one that helped lay the groundwork for a Chicago indie scene that would evolve and thrive for many years to come. Their music was...
Full Bio
Reside, The Effigies
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Apr 30, 2007

Customer Ratings