FILE UNDER: PUNK, HIP-HOP/POP/INDUSTRIAL/GOSPEL . . .
The Dwarves Must Die
Greedy/Sympathy for the Record Industry
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The Dwarves may have finally found their Pet Sounds—not to say The Dwarves Must Die, their first proper studio album in four years, is a collection of transcendent pop, unless you think pavement saws sound like string sections. Instead, this is where Blag Dahlia's warped genius for catchy punk rock has successfully impregnated electronica and hip-hop to produce non-retarded offspring (a near impossibility: see rap-metal), with the help of 14 individual Dwarves credited as band members. The pure surfy pop of "Bleed On" collapses into the industro-pummel punk of "FEFU"; "Salt Lake City" is the best poppy punk song that's not pop punk this year, and "Runaway #2" is an acoustic take on Lou Reed's gutter kid stories via "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." "Massacre" has Blag calling out "fake punkers with the pussy-ass managers," "Bad Charlotte" and "Queens of the Trust Fund" over a credible hip-hop musical track. Yes, The Dwarves Must Dieis that schizophrenic. And more surprisingly, it works. The Dwarves have been stretching in this ultra-produced, punk-tronica direction at least since 2000's The Dwarves Come Clean, but until now, the results were decidedly mixed, especially when pointed at an audience as cretinous as the one the Dwarves have cultivated for 18 years. But given the chance, at least one song here should be able to find a commercial audience on one of several radio formats. While it seems unlikely to make them huge, The Dwarves Must Die might finally get the Dwarves out of the shock-punk ghetto.