Most of the music on the new comp from Grand Rapids imprint Friction channels the spiny guitar tones, lyrical claustrophobia and coed lineups of a time when indie rock didn’t have Internet access, and 7”s were always mailed postpaid. Corcovado’s “Biology of Bees” splays out reverb and distortion over detached female vocals and the melodic build of Sister-era Sonic Youth. “Man at Arms” is louder, with jerky stop-start rhythms that would suggest 21st century post-hardcore if they weren’t so, well, skronky. Yes, the meaningless adjective that once described Brainiac will now be applied to Man at Arms’ wiry frenetics. Neither Man at Arms nor Corcovado makes a huge impression — they rock at one speed only. But both bands manage to suggest the musical throb of 1988-1994 without completely raiding the era. Some of Lake Effects’ most powerful moments come from Coldwater’s “Spit for Athena,” whose Levi Bailey writes songs on the bruised skin stretched between creepy and righteous: “What is that thing you put in me?! Take it out!” he screams over squelch and raw percussion in “I’m Not Going Anywhere.” He’s also preoccupied with masturbation. But in the long view, look what that did for Green Day.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].