Sorry, XOXOXO (Pelado)
by Ewan Wadharmi
A virtual Austin supergroup, members of this band have served time in bands as notable as Schatzi and as forgettable as The Ritchie Whites. What they’ve brought to this project is a very different texture, more pleasing than many of their prior efforts. When you’ve got a rather unique sound like The Ends, it’s going to be an acquired taste, but it makes you a milestone band for comparison. The fast-paced singer is gruff but barkless, sometimes blending Lemmy Kilmister with the sing-song of Jim Carroll. Elsewhere, he’s got Joe Strummer dead on. The lousy vocal mix makes every emission sound like “chudz chadz choooor,” but the phrasing is gripping enough to hold your interest when you can’t make out the lyrics. Especially on “Jump Ship,” the non-traditional aggressive style is more like the folk of The Alarm’s Dave Sharp on high speed than the punk rhythms you’re used to. And some of the twinkling guitar tones are culled from UK wimp rockers Big Country and The Lilac Time. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it turns out. Backup vocals and keyboards add that feminine touch to the rocker “Radio.” It may take a minute to acclimate to their style, but it’s well worth the small effort.