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December 2004 - The Wire

Tour EP review
by David Keenan

This Massachusetts wrecking crew have long had a single pencilled in for release via Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace imprint. In the absence of that monster, however, the group themselves have stepped in to fill the gap, with a CD-R that comes in a stapled, xeroxed sleeve that's as punk as hell. The music is good-time garage glam in the tradition of The Germs and The Electric Eels, with vocalist Jessi Leigh Swenson working a pair of hotpants and a bad attitude into some affirmative chants. Meanwhile, bassist Matt Krefting and guitaritst John Shaw, both of Son Of Earth-Flesh on Bone Trio, take flailing, atonal solos that pulse with progressive energy. Drummer Anna Klein has such a bent way of subdividing time that she can turn a locomotive boogie into an exercise in punishing austerity with just a crash of the hi-hat. The EP also includes a live track, "Shady Afternoon", drawn from their high energy set at Brattleboro's legendary Free Folk Fest last year.

January 2004 - Blastitude #16

by Daniel DiMaggio

"...I dunno. Pretty good. Who knows. I was too busy getting off on the considerable celeb presence of the event. As soon as I get there there’s Blastitude’s own Tony Rettman talking to Pete Nolan of Shackamaxon and the Magic Markers, and then a guy from Sunburned Hand of The Man comes up and then people from that band the Believers that I think I read about. It was insane. And they were all complaining about the Wire “New Weird America” article. Haha, whatever suckas. In good time I peaced upstairs to see the second band of the night...."

November 11, 2003 - Grapevine Culture

Free-rock friends from Amherst sit down and record a tall debut. Spotty and repetitive in points, The Believers enthusiasm is hard to resist
by Zach Bloom

In the opening moments of “Theme”, the EP’s first track, the laughter at drummer Anna Klein’s dropped beat lets down the barriers between the musicians and listener, opening the sludgy and obtuse sound they’re cultivating, and putting forth a cheery disposition that doesn’t aim to exclude. Those opening moments tend to drag on as you realize some ten minutes later it’s still just Klein pounding something aimlessly wonderful, Matt Krefting’s bass tearing the bottom out of everything, [John] Shaw’s psyche-guitar fantasy, and singer Jessi Swenson making absolutely sure you know the band’s name is spelled: backwards, forwards and upside down. Bernard Butler’s “Woman I Know” now has a rival for the most pompously wonderful album opener in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Harking back to their humble beginnings in the Amherst, Massachusetts-based Son of Earth: Flesh On Bone Trio (with erstwhile member Aaron Rosenblum contributing on one track), both Krefting and Shaw continue to trace lines through stoned-out noodling and percussive liftings, deviating towards an impulse while keeping a focus in mind. While they’ve already made names from various free outfits, both Swenson and Klein are newcomers to the avant-rock scene. And welcomed ones at that, with Klein’s ability to control the other players and Swenson’s shrill attention grabbing wail.

Given the relatively small circle The Believers circumscribe, the fifty minutes Tour offers seem a bit hefty, leaving this listener a little drained. It’s a shame as the record starts off strong, but I suppose one can only take so much intoxicated guitar, crashed symbols and treated vocals. I wish I didn’t have a fifteen-minute tolerance for that stuff, but the conviction with which the Believers pound out seven tracks gives the impression their live show is not one to be missed.

July 2003 - Arthur, vol. 5

Bull Tongue
By Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

A few of the Son of Earth/Apostasy clan have decided to rise from their tap-tap tinker knees to celebrate their more erectile rockist desires. A distinct lust for things Bowie and Reed has birthed a horribly attractive no-boogie glam gloop called The Believers. Bass player Matt Krefting, at 6 foot 6 inches, had singer Jessi Swenson hold a copy of Lou Reed Live next to his scalp in one hand and with the other scissor his hair in direct proportion to Lou's. With black fingernails and extremely ill high-water leather pants, he struts and strikes his instrument like a primo new wave gork from the backwoods of 1977. Jessi in hot hot hot pants speils wonder-glam recitations whilst the others, in varying degrees of hairy transition, groove a thorny hybrid of woodsy punk and neon junk.

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