Test Icicles: "What's Your Damage?"

from For Screening Purposes Only (Domino; 2005)

By Mark Abraham | 19 January 2006

First impression: Feedback and string scrapes spiral around a choppy bass line before the drums kick in full throttle; the band follows suit until everything drops out except for a crunch guitar panned to the right. The formula is there, but the tracked guitars often play harmonies to the main riff, and the rhythm is constantly shuffled. The track chugs along, the guitars go in unpredictable directions, and the band has totally got the tone down for this shit. Pretty good.

Second impression: I kind of liked the Test Icicles more before I read the lyric sheet. “What’s Your Damage?” is, I guess, about sticking it to the establishment. I’m confused, though: how can “nothing [be] right” when “last time [you] checked, everything seemed to be in place?” Also, why all the vitriol when you’ve “left [your]self open to attack?” I realize lyrics aren’t the only reason to listen to music—and, to be fair, the singing is scathing—but, y’know? At least when we used to scrawl Cobain’s words on our jeans, they were consistent.

Third impression: I’d rather be listening to Les Savy Fav.