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Paying the Cost

[whitespace] The Cost
Cost Analysis: The Cost's new album swings
from the melodic rafters.

Some songs morph faster than others on the Cost's new album

By Matt Koumaras

STIRRING UP celestial fret mojo and fusing it with boiling-from-the-eye-sockets vocal rage, Cost makes its way through a labyrinth of challenging atmospheres on its new self-titled album. Each song morphs into something stunningly different than the one before it. The tranquil, golden tones that Steve's guitar produces put the listener's head on his shoulders only to chop it off moments later with a fanged guitar rush. The dreamy guitar picking during the dreamlike "Some Bunnies Are Faster Than Others" summons up images of belly dancers bringing on an endless supply of seedless grapes.

My favorite tune is the spunky cover of the Nitwits' "Captain America," which swings from the melodic rafters. Witty song titles like "Every Dog Has Its Flea" and "Hour of the Quadraplegic" are juxtaposed with fragmented verses that drown in emo confusion (i.e., "Happiness is a place where nothing grows/Wasting away forlorn by democracy"  ... um, sure). But as Laird slices and dices his vocal chords in a hardcore blender, he emerges as the pissed-off second coming of Froggy from Our Gang, and all is forgiven. His vocal M-80s during "Paper Dolls" pack more damage than being pelted by a Nerf football soaked in Zima at the beach. The cathartic "Will It Ever Change" refrain in "Quadraplegic" shows somebody has been stealing some tender musical chops from Sam the Butcher's trusty meat hook. Write: The Cost, PO Box 10766, Oakland, CA 94610; email thecost@yahoo.com.

I must have been hypnotized last Thursday at the Catalyst, because Wyrm's hard-rock routine finally won me over. I uncontrollably quacked like a duck as Wyrm's bookend guitarists pulled off polished guitar loops augmented with pristine feedback. "It" sported rapid syncopation and catchy dual vocals. Even the slower KMBY-ready vocal bellows started to sound as cool as whipped cream too. "Springer Girl" rocked, especially with its silly monologue about a guy who borrows his girlfriend's panties--it's refreshing to see a band that has a sense of humor as well as fashion.

Astron also played and carved a dignified "p" in prog rock. Danny and Charger's time-traveling guitars on "Ripley's Last Stand" performed somersaults toward the throne of greatness. Charger's exuberant leads during "Dark Matter" were the only thing in life that seemed to matter for the span of a song. The tsunami chord progression in "Fight" should be played during any nude paint-ball competition. Decked in style with Houston Astros-like garb, the band formed a vicious drum-corps circle midsong that battered the Zen spot. I'll let my wife and seven kids duke it out for that last Eggo, I just want the keys to the Yugo so I can check out this band again.

I only caught two songs from the Expendables, who opened. The drummer smacked plenty of strong Mack Truck-like beats into melodic surf-punk ditties. With three guitarists trying to nail down the prettiest harmony, the songs seemed a little rushed, as if there were snippets of songs mysteriously abducted. But that didn't deter the mobs of fans from throwing yearbooks and P.E. shorts onstage as they went totally "Ricky Martin" for their heroes.

Upcoming

Thursday (July 1), Fury 66 and Model American play the Soledad Bowl (195 Monterey, 9pm); Friday, the Lonely Kings' CD-release party features Papa Roach and Lodestar at the Catalyst.

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From the June 30-July 7, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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