By Daniel Kohn
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A few years back, an episode of the popular television show Pokémon was banned from the airwaves after its hyperstrobe animation reportedly induced seizures in children. Luckily for the kids who didn't get to see the episode and feel they somehow missed out, Chain Reaction is hosting a show on Monday that will go some distance toward replicating the experience.
Daughters—the latest spazzcore outfit to send kids into happy seizures—pair their hostile instrumental assault with the wild-eyed bark of Alexis Marshall. He opens the band's new Hell Songs by rattling off a slew of insults he's had leveled at him, from "sinner" to "miscreant," sounding like an insane Jon Spencer adopting the self-important air of a preacher. It certainly grabs our attention—not that any moment on the record doesn't.
As Daughters jerk and drill through shrill post-metal workouts, Marshall spits lyrics that feel almost like come-ons or slurs. He knows the power of his voice, and you can tell how much it pleases him when the instruments fall away at the end of "Fiery," and he can finish with the phrase "as quiet as a mouse" alone, stretching out the last word playfully.
On "Hyperventilation System," over jump-roping rhythms and nonstop stabs of guitar, he bellows, "Love is a disgusting thing" over and over. And over. The instrumentation grows more overblown as he goes, until the white noise is rumbling in our ears. Then it ends abruptly—as many of the songs do—with Marshall getting in one last word.
Scooped up by the powerhouse Hydra Head label after their blowout first album, Canada Songs, Rhode Island's Daughters are ripe to follow in the cult footsteps of such full-throttle noiseniks as the Locust and Melt Banana. It's fitting the guys did a track for the recent Birthday Party tribute, Release the Bats.
And yet, Daughters don't melt your brain so much as surround it, invade it and prod it into heated action, shaking off the doldrums until a big dumb grin snakes across your face. It's a glorious racket they make, and in its more challenging moments, it could do us all some good.
Daughters, Pelican, Saviours and Nachmystium at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $10-12. All ages.