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Albums Of The Week: Blair Gun | There Are No Rival Clones Here

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a timeless slice of transgression, confession, self-reliance and self-expression. It’s the perfect punk-power-pop-dance record to confront our peculiar moment. There Are No Rival Clones Here, the sophomore LP from San Diego’s Blair Gun, marks a multi-dimensional leap for the funny, focused, and fiercely intelligent group.

Blair Gun, you see, have a process. Tough, tight tunes such as the frantic and vaguely Fall-like The Thief, the sneering and propulsive Bitter Men, or this summer’s inevitable house-party freakout-inducer Beat Happened, don’t emerge fully formed from dudes noodling. By the time Blair Gun hit the studio, all their material has been tightly composed, revised and rehearsed to the border and back, and put through numerous variations, iterations and playful invocations.

There Are No Rival Clones Here packs enough hooks for a dozen typical punk albums, making it at times almost prog-adjacent. And yet, Blair Gun remain a punk band in some essential respects. Within a lean, mean running time, each song makes a distinct, unforgettable statement.

You’ll hear strains of everything from The Germs and Minutemen to Richard Hell and Elvis Costello to Pixies and Pavement to hometown heroes Drive Like Jehu and Blink-182. They have influences, not idols. Rituals, not references. If nothing is new, Blair Gun prove that everything is therefore, in a sense, always new.

They know they have to create their own roadshow, which they prefer to do passionately, strategically, and on purpose. Their targets include self-destructive conformity and anti-intellectualism, cynical brand-building in lieu of self-reliance and solidarity, and the fruitless quest for simple solutions in a complex, interrogative world. The good news is, Rival Clones has enough jumpy, cathartic, infectious house-party fun to fuel and fortify its blistering, indignant intelligence.

Punk has always had a fraught relationship with discipline. To swing to one extreme or the other — to become rigidly doctrinaire or slouch into self-destructive nihilism — is to cede control of your destiny. Blair Gun know the most righteous chaos is highly controlled. Power comes from passion, precision, and patience. At this rate, their third record could be downright frightening.”