Love Lost But Not Forgotten 

Saturday, January 15 (late show); Creepy Crawl

After playing a farewell show in July 2003, Love Lost But Not Forgotten appeared content to let the final four words of its name form a fitting epitaph. Fans pleaded for more music in message-board postings that reeked with the saline scent of indelicately jerked tears, but the seminal St. Louis quintet remained dormant, immune even to urgent entreaties from black-banged moppets. Finally, in late December 2004, LLBNF announced this comeback gig, and the screamo-metal masses rejoiced as if dozens of hooded sweatshirts had suddenly appeared under their Christmas trees.

Love Lost makes no promise of a permanent reunion -- guitarist Scott Fogelbach says "we'll see what the new year holds" -- but the group has never excelled at offering comfort. Its upbeat titles are bitter lies, with "Happy to Be Alive" depicting cruel indifference and "Calm and Secure" describing the "saliva of shitheads." The chaotic complexity of the group's compositions stands in stark contrast to its brutally efficient wordplay; savage swirls of noise surround simple phrases such as "In typical fashion, everything dies." In his most inaccurate assessment, singer Nathan Prater shrieks, "Even when I'm passionate I'm unimpressive." Actually, the band's emotional intensity is astounding, as its wounded-griffin wails cling to its snapped-elastic riffs like tightly wrapped partners on a threadbare bungee cord. (Please note that LLBNF and Mustard Plug are on different bills; tickets will be required for both shows.)

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