Ari Ari There’s a New Sheriff in Town

[Friction; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: spazz, hardcore, punk
Others: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Blood Brothers

I didn't even want to go to the show. I was in a super-lazy mood, and all I wanted to do was go home, lay in bed, and watch a movie or three. After the first band bored my ears off, my apathy only got worse, and I was about to leave just as Ari Ari took the stage. They then proceeded to completely melt my face and I had no choice but to leave and hit up an ATM immediately after they were done so I could score a shirt and this CD that I'm reviewing right... now.

I can't count the number of times a band has blown me away live, but left me extremely disappointed with the CD (These Arms Are Snakes, I'm looking at you). And while There's a New Sheriff in Town isn't as good as Ari Ari's incinerating live show, it sure as hell isn't anywhere near being a disappointment. Not only does it have some of my favorite artwork of the year (think Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone meets Burn, Piano Island, Burn), it's also got some of my favorite tunes as well.

The whole thing's brief, 12:36 to be exact, but if it were any longer, you'd probably need medical attention after listening to it. Ari Ari rip through the five songs without letting up the pace once, and never stop in one place for too long. Normally with a band like this, there are times when I wish they would explore a single idea further before they leave it in the dust, but every change on There's a New Sheriff in Town feels entirely appropriate, like the song just might die if they stop moving. Jill (last names are entirely absent from everything about the band I've found) sounds like a complete madwoman, and you can just imagine her grabbing everyone around her, pleading for help with wide eyes and a look of confused desperation on her face as she shouts her way through the songs. (Which is exactly how she performs. You really need to check them out live.) There are moments like on "Liquored Up and At 'Em" (oh yeah, their song titles are pretty aces too), where Jill loses any sense of sanity and her voice rips through your head like a buzzsaw. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not; she seriously sounds like she's going to rip you the fuck apart.

Acting as the backbone, Mark's synthesizer lays a solid foundation for Ryan's experimental-hardcore-art-punk-spaced-out-whatever guitar workouts and Brandon's acrobatic drumming. Everything comes together perfectly in a spazzy mess and with Jill's vocals they form like Voltron into a vicious rock beast with the power of ten normal bands and the capability to completely fuck up your face, much like they did mine that fateful night. Make sure you've got a good health plan and strap yourself in for one of the best rides this year from one of the most promising bands I've heard in a while.

1. Liquored Up and At 'Em
2. Set Your Strobe Light to Stun
3. Backseat O.D.
4. Such a Sinker
5. Kim Jong Il Communication