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Supergroups are lame, indie supergroups are lamer, and local indie supergroups ought to be the lamest of all. That might be why these members of some of the heartland's finest indie-rock bands (the Poison Control Center, Wolves in the Attic, the Autumn Project, the Keepers of the Carpet, and more) can't even seem to book a gig without loudly proclaiming it's their last. And yet Mantis Pincers' rough 'n' ready self-titled debut, with its rangy vacation-abroad reflections, cheeky rock'n'roll reunion fantasies, and delicious space-rock blast-offs -- also, two bisques and one casserole -- is super just the same.
There's something rotten in Des Moines. No, really. This scrappy rock'n'roll quartet's self-titled debut is proof. The Seed of Something innocently gathers up the detritus of '90s indie rock, '60s garage rock, and '70s punk and shapes it into a beautifully tragic bricolage that mostly speaks to an underlying discontent -- about police, school, dreams, people who don't like the Talking Heads... everything except music. "I'm drowning," the band's two-man songwriting team brays on "Soundwaves," the dizzily chugging opener, "and there's no place I'd rather be." As with Be Your Own Pet, Iceage, or, hell, even Odd Future, it's the kind of group where their relative youth -- none was older than 18 when this was recorded -- matters only because the music has an energy no geezer can replicate.
"How can we survive when all we do is fuck and fight?" In the annals of songs named after the bands that played them, Wolves in the Attic's entry has an utterly unassailable chorus. It's also a good indication of what to expect from their sharply melodic, bitterly fist-pumping 2008 debut album, a preemptive classic of the recent '90s revival (Yuck, Japandroids, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart) -- and, thus, perfectly suited to the acute retromania of the cassette format. With towering noise-rock anthems, lacerating punk-pop barrages, and flatlands-dazed psych-folk balladry, Electronic Hearts shows it's no wonder this Iowa four-piece has shared bills with the Faint, HEALTH, and that other young band with a song named after themselves, Titus Andronicus.