The Karl Hendricks Rock Band
The World Says
Surplus Anxiety Records
It's been about four years since Merge Records released The Karl Hendricks Trio's The Jerks Win Again, and a full 15 since the band's debut, Buick Elecktra. Now Karl's back with The World Says, whether the local music-scene vet likes it or not. "If you've ever tried to disappear, then you'll know what I mean," he sings on the title track. "You keep insisting you're invisible / the world says you're seen."
This latest outing is a local release, on Surplus Anxiety Records, with album art by Mike Budai. Hendricks' expanded "Rock Band" lineup features Jake Leger on drums, Corey Layman on bass, and local guitar anti-hero Alexei Plotnicov (Midnite Snake).
Rock band, indeed. Over the lurching rhythm section, Plotnicov's and Hendricks' interlocking guitars range from plinky and sparse to roaring, Crazy Horse-esque workouts, especially on the epic, nearly 12-minute closer, "California in October." For much of The World Says, Hendricks and Co. kick out the jams in the grand style of Dinosaur Jr.'s SST releases, though with less saturated fat -- the jazz-inflected riffs are "Little Fury Things" rather than a "Sludgefeast."
But it's not 1987 anymore. It's not even 1991, when Hendricks kicked off the first edition of the band. And evidences of this passage of an era don't escape Hendricks' critical, sardonic turns of phrase. There's "The Last Uncompromising Hardcore Band," the death of which the narrator watches on TV; "Irony Fails Me" nails the moment when a person's interaction with the world stops being so much a sport as it is, um, real life.
But like the opening song declares, "I'm not crying, Karl."