"One, two, three, four, five/Keep the dream alive" are the only lyrics on "Dry Futures," the title track to Bring Back the Guns' first full-length release. (Whether this infectious chant is an idealistic rallying cry or a sarcastic lament about the current state of the world is up to the listener.) But they're certainly words by which the mathy Houston quartet continues to live. Hastily formed in 1998 as a live interpretation of a recording side project — the band was unexpectedly invited to play SXSW in Austin — the 'Guns have since weathered several lineup changes and years of constant touring. But this experience has helped it evolve into one of the more interesting bands currently channeling the politically charged spirit and dissonance of post-hardcore acts such as Fugazi. Slight tinges of melody and pop hooks appear suddenly, while floating falsetto vocal passages stick around just long enough to induce a slight trance before exploding into maniacal outbursts (you know, the Black Francis school of vocal freakouts). Substantive lyrics add intellectual weight, by touching on everything from government overthrow to the dark side of modern-day pharmacology.
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