Classic Midwest punk Devo influence, but with a "new-new wave" sound that's been coming out of California and Saint Louis. If you heard ERICK NERVOUS's mighty 2018 collection Assorted Anxieties, you probably thought you had his sound pegged. Bruce Gilbert power chords, rickety garage skronk, and a willful primitivism that starts with a drum machine and ends with a heroically scuffed approach to melody—it all adds up to something pretty irresistible, of course, but what if there was more to come? This time Erik's joined by THE BETA BLOCKERS, and the sound they concoct together is utterly magical. OK, when this self-titled LP comes rattling out of the gate with 90-second barnstormer "Violent Dreams," you may suspect it's just an amplified version of the old stuff, albeit with full band, but trust me: you ain't seen nuthin' yet. "Gravure" sees 'em tinkering with an angular skronk-funk that tilts an ear towards yer Minutemen, yer Bogsheds, yer Andy Gill s (while ensuring both feet are firmly cemented to as many dumbass hardcore punk records as possible). The thoroughly unexpected "Blasted Heath" brings synths to the foreground in masterly fashion, while the mutant dub of "Want To Not Wanna" feels like a dust-up in a muddy puddle with an ashen-faced Pere Ubu. It's still recognizably the work of ERIK HART (for that is his true name), only distorted and further frayed at the edges. It's the sort of snappily smart sidestep you wish more bands would be willing to take, while remaining within touching distance from their roots.