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The Beasts | Still Here

The Bourbonless Australian indie-rock rebels return to raise unholy hell again.

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Make that Back Here. Mostly. Featuring members of legendary Australian indie-rock rebels The Beasts of Bourbon, this quintet decided to reunite after the funeral of another former bandmate — and were barely off the ground when guitarist Spencer P. Jones died of liver cancer. Not surprisingly, there’s a dark, doomy vibe surrounding this 11-song comeback disc. It doesn’t get much grimmer than the fatalistic, Tom Waitsian slow-blues sardonicism of Jones’ At The Hospital, his sole contribution to the disc. A gritty cover of Warren Zevon’s morbid My Shit’s Fucked Up seconds that emotion. But it isn’t all a deadly downer. The disc busts out of the gate with two-fisted proto-punk bashers On My Back and Pearls Before Swine. Along the way, it also delivers garage-rock nuggets like Drunk on a Train and It’s All Lies, a suitably menacing cover of Frank Zappa’s The Torture Never Stops, and deeply demented groovers like Don’t Pull Me Over and Your Honour. Best of all, everything comes voiced in singer-guitarist Tex Perkins’ gravel-gargling macho-man bark and laced with Kim Salmon and Charlie Owen’s unhinged guitar abuse. All of that combines to make it thunderingly clear there’s still plenty of life in these old Beasts. Even without the bourbon.

STANDOUTS: On My Back, Pearls Before Swine, At the Hospital.