Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
June 14, 2004
Amazon Disco:
Lack of Communication Lack of Communication
June 23, 2002
Sweet Nothing
It Came From Japan It Came From Japan


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Von Bondies
Pawn Shoppe Heart

The White Stripes made five albums: The White Stripes, De Stijl, White Blood Cells, Elephant, and Lack of Communication. "i've never heard of that last one!" you say? well, you should rush right out and get it from your local record shop. however, you should be cognizant of one thing: The White Stripes didn't record Lack of Communication. am i trying to sell you a bill of goods? no, my perspicacious friends. Lack of Communication was recorded by the Von Bondies and produced by Jack White, but the musicians are irrelevant since White primarily engineered the sound. the album sounds just as minimalistic and nouveau Blues as any item in the Stripes' catalogue with pulvarizing, single-minded guitar and drums and lyrics that sway from fuzzy, uncaring rock to soul-driven Southern speed.

OR you can get what should have been the Von Bondies' debut album, Pawn Shoppe Heart. produced by the Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison, it's an excellent display of a band newly manumitted from a sound that had them comport with a trend. you wouldn't know it from Lack of Communication, but the Von Bondies are actually a fourtet: Jason Stollsteimer (lead vocals, guitar), Marcie Bolen (vocals, guitar), Carrie Smith (vocals, bass), and Don Blum (drums). Pawn Shoppe Heart is garage at its best: a conduit of unabashed emotive expression articulated intelligently, aggressively, and precisely. it's a great leap from their last work and yet another example of how garage is still one of the heavier, more important elements in an evanscent musical landscape. their current single, 'C'mon, C'mon,' exemplifies and parses the idea of breaking away. Stollsteimer sings, "With my teeth locked down I can see the blood/Of a thousand men who have come and gone/Now we grieve cause now it's gone/Things were good when we were young."

other songs like 'Crawk Through The Darkness,' 'The Fever,' and the title track are as moving and as heavy as 'C,'mon, C'mon,' even though they don't seem to be as great of thematic signposts. the album is about exoneration from youthful exuberance, addictions, and foolish games of the heart. it's about faults and consequences. it's about singing of a dirty past to clean yourself. in the end the doleful title and often somber songs offer the positive effect of freedom. The Von Bondies have crafted a strong piece conditioned by history, drive, and fuel from the heart.

Release date: March 9, 2004
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Rating: 8.5 / 10

[RMR]