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San Francisco’s Drowning Effect may be a relatively young group, but all three members have done time in a number of other popular Bay Area groups like Morning Spy and Foxtail Somersault. Their self-titled debut album Drowning Effect, released in July, is a fuzzed out blast of garage rock energy that is indebted to both the pioneers of the genre like The Stooges and MC5 as well as newer groups such as Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees. The band adds their own unique spin to the genre, however, grafting a more angular artistic element to garage rock’s typically unrelenting, attitude-driven wall of sound.
Forgoing, for the most part, the high speed drive of punk while retaining the snarling, sneering posturing, Drowning Effect do a marvelous job of capturing this late-60s proto-punk energy on the brooding “Howl” and the hypnotically droning “Electric Eyes.” They’re not really psychedelic, but they skirt flirtatiously with the genre to add an extra dimension to their sound, and as a testament to their ambition, they also close the album with a cover of the classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Although nothing could ever match the manic fever of the original, it does show Drowning Effect is willing to take on the greats, and Drowning Effect comes out as a stunningly strident and original debut in an already overcrowded genre.
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