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Nothing is more clichéd than accusing a punk band of sounding too slick. Sometimes, though, it’s a valid charge—especially if the band has built its entire appeal on unvarnished emotion and bloody-nosed immediacy. Off With Their Heads’ punk anthems have always felt like gut-punches, but on their Epitaph debut, In Desolation, there’s too much padding breaking the blows. Unlike From The Bottom, the Minneapolis band’s 2008 release, In Desolation is sanded-down, note-perfect, and cushioned by a barrier of perfectly sculpted distortion. That distance puts a damper on Ryan Young
’s hoarse, crude confessionals: “The face ...
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