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Music Review: The Giraffes – The Giraffes

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The cover of a record (see below) that has nothing to do with anything regarding an "African even-toed ungulate mammal" can be a bit disconcerting, especially if that cover shows what looks like the nervous system of something. The cover also looks like it could potentially be in 3-D, so if you've got those red and blue glasses handy maybe you can have quite the experience staring at a 3-D version … of a nervous system. I figured that for a dollar I could have a great time pretending I'm a real doctor by staring at this piece of anatomy, complaining about my personal problems, and consider dating another doctor like on some of those television shows. But regardless of what I do in my spare time, the attractively sparse album art gives a hint of what is likely to be shaking you on the inside if you were to turn this record up loud on the stereo.

The New York-based Giraffes are a hard rock band through and through. They've even got a look about them, for lead vocalist Aaron Lazar has a powerful looking mustache that can draw the envy of barbershop quartet members everywhere. What those quartets may envy more, though, is the full throttle blast that the Giraffes pound out for ten tracks without much of a pause.

The opener of "Jr. At His Worst" leads the listener in quietly before commencing in the heavy riffs and the constant drum rolls and cymbal crashes that is evident in all of the songs on the record. What really stands out to me is Lazar's 'rock voice', which clearly shows he's not a pretty singer and yet doesn't sound like he's barking or screaming like most non-singers do. It's that even ground that slips in well with the harsher tones of the instruments that makes this, and each of the songs, that much more listenable to. I cannot stress enough how important it is for the lead vocalist to be appealing in the music that he or she sings over, and Lazar fits in well.

"Haunted Heaven" has a winding, screeching intro that immediately escalates into a crazed drumming display by Andrew Totolos before Lazar careens in with his wails. "Sugarbomb" is another epic rocker that reminds me a bit of some of the plodding rock approach of some old Sabbath tunes, while "BLCKNTWHTCSTL" has a more Turbonegro brashness to it. The band does sort of slow it down a bit more with the even more Sabbath-like " Honey Baby Child" to end the record. Overall, it's a very high energy album that most in the search for some new rock 'n' roll are bound to appreciate in some instance. Check out a few from these guys:

The band is still pulverizing the New York area by playing numerous live shows and festivals, so even though they haven't put out a record in awhile one can still go check out what is likely to be an exhilarating time at a club somewhere. I've said it before, but it seems to be rare these days when a band can just play some great rock 'n' roll and not sound irritating due to over-production or over-indulgence by the lead vocalist. The Giraffes, despite their leaf-eating band name, really know how to kick one in the face with their tough grit and loud sound. They certainly did that for me, so this is no doubt a bargain for me culled from a lucky dollar bin.

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