LA has a history of producing hard-hitting angry music. Living in that smog-drenched concrete and steel jungle would grate on anyone’s nerves eventually. 400 Blows emerges from the scene with their sophomore effort Angel’s Trumpets and Devil’s Trombones, 11 pummeling tracks drenched in snot and bile.Vocalist Skot Alexander leads this 3-piece with a voice reminiscent of fellow west-coast punk legend Jello Biafra. His raw vocal delivery matches the stripped down effect of the band, for much like dirty rockers Death From Above 1979, 400 Blows uses only drums and one guitar for their sonic assault. Their name could aptly describe the number of punches that drummer Ferdinand Cudia manages to fit in each song. Christian Wabschall’s guitar playing is fairly consistent, mostly just punctuating the constant pounding of Cudia. Wabschall’s tone is thick, deep, and fuzzed out, though at times (like on “Sore Thumb”) his guitar sounds more like a sick bumblebee.
Alexander is kind enough to cue us into the band’s creative process on “No One Can Erase This” – “Taking our time trying to go through with it / sounds in our head this is what we do with it / those Angel’s Trumpets and Devil’s Trombones / created the soundtrack to what we call home / lost in a trance deep in our headphones.” The mathematical riffs and beats and shifting time signatures are certainly trance inducing at times, sounding like an underdeveloped Dillinger Escape Plan or Jesus Lizard.
Alex Newport, who has produced other spastic rockers At the Drive-In and The Locust, lends his talents. He puts the polish on a consistent, if not entirely memorable, album.