Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Child Bite, Fantastic Gusts of Blood (Suburban Sprawl Music/Quack! Media, 2008)

Listen: “Never-Ending Mountain Slammer”

Is it allowed for a scrappy post-punk band weaned on Mr. Bungle, Kill Rock Stars, and Mountain Dew to issue a concept album based on various stories of Greek mythology, set to the tune of a bunch of mad scientists sticking light sabers inside the pickups of their guitars? Take one spin through Child Bite‘s relentless new Fantastic Gusts of Blood, and we dare ya to tell them “no.” In fact, we dare you to to try and tell this band how to do anything at all.

From the start, Detroit’s Child Bite have been nothing less than ambitious; any attendee of their recent CD release show for Gusts will certainly attest to that (if you weren’t there, you missed out on serpent-armed monsters and the bursting of a giant white balloon they called “the deep egg”). It’s that “Aw-fuck-it, of course we can put out three albums a year, dress all of our friends up as giant eyeballs, and still hold down our day jobs” type of attitude that have earned Child Bite a rightful spot as one of Detroit’s bands to watch. But that age old debate always looms over the heads of bands who draw from bizarre inspiration, and that completely own live; can they replicate the hysteria on record?

Gusts‘ first track, “Venom Bowl, Kids Guts,” should erase any speculation that they can’t. With siren-sounding keyboards and singer Shawn Knight’s by-now-signature yowl, spluttering all over the track like spaz-rock vomit, the song signals the Child Bite method: Things are atonal enough to where you could never say they’re a pop band, but little shards of melody sneak up here and there, sticking into your neck in an oddly pleasuring manner. Many moments on Gusts continue in this tradition, with tracks like “Never-Ending Mountain Slammer” (must have missed that story in Greek Mythology 101), “Banana Gorgon” and “Jewels Rules” getting rad with sound effects, jagged guitar jabs, and arty time changes. But the band never neglects solid hooks, even if they come from unlikely sources. Carefully constructed basslines (heard best in the elastic workout of “In The Bathouse”), weird-beard keys, squiggly saxophone; they all deliver just as rewardingly as would one of those soaring Coldplay choruses. It just depends how you’re listening. And if you think they’ve gone soft, check out the Shellac-y “White Bull From the Sea” or the caffeinated “Barracouta Mouth,” and you’ll think otherwise. And yeah, we’ve blabbered about the Bite a billion times on our site, but when you have a band this good skronking around in your own backyard, we dare anybody to ignore it. In fact, we double dare ya. — Ryan Allen

Child Bite play Rock City, Friday, June 13 at 9:30 pm in the Magic Stick.

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No Responses to “Review: Child Bite, Fantastic Gusts of Blood”

  1. gorilla on June 12th, 2008 4:35 pm

    Weird-beard is my favorite new musical adjective.

  2. Jeff Rostand on June 13th, 2008 11:30 am

    CB are cool, but let’s have some disclosure here: Ryan Allen is a good friend and colleague of the band. This is less objective “review” than it is some friendly hype and promo.

    That said, Shawn is a warped genius with a truly unique musical perspective. (And, no, I’m not one of his eyeball friends).

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