Like a Stuntman: Reduce
Highpoint Lowlife

Though the 7-inch Reduce is worth it for the full-colour sleeve alone, the disc's three songs leave an equally strong impression. Unlike Highpoint Lowlife's customary electronic offerings, however, Release exudes a guitar-based indie vibe. Together since 2001, the Frankfurt-based Like a Stuntman augments its conventional 4-piece attack with lo-fi drum-machines, Casio keyboards, harmonica, and tortured vocalizing (that the group contributed to Perverted by Marc E, a recent tribute album to The Fall, doesn't surprise).

The title track opens with distorted vocals backed by carnival organ and acoustic guitar before the full band appears, with the mantra “one second or less” repeating in the background. Having settled into a heavy lurch, the music escalates into a stomping howl with vocals fighting to be heard above the roaring din. On the flip side, “Homerun,” a memorable slice of psychedelic folk-rock, offers a rich arrangement of bright glockenspiel tinkles and harmonium touches, while “Early Career” closes the set with a rave-up fueled by New Order bass lines and billowing synth enhancements. Brief but potent nevertheless, Reduce bodes well for the band's upcoming full-length Fresh Air Is Not The Worst Thing In Town.

April 2005