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Thrash Magic Stuart Huggett , October 25th, 2012 09:54

Playlounge are two pale, nervy looking young men called Sam and Laurie, from London or thereabouts. They're not big on surnames (Watkins and Foster, possibly). Sam sings and drums, Laurie plays breakneck guitar and Thrash Magic? is their first full record.

You could call it an EP (their record company do), but it fits seven short songs into 12 inches, just like 'Wire Play Pop'. If only more albums were this short. Jump in quick and get out before you lose interest. "I get so bored" howls Sam on 'Seahorse'. At four minutes, it's the longest, slowest song here, descending into drawn out smears of guitar as the singer throws in the towel.

"I slur my speech" Sam admits on 'Water Wings'. And everything else. Playlounge are totally a Bandcamp band, part of an undefined, sprawling network of high treble, high energy DIY acts sharing bills, tapes and floorspace just slightly off the radar (examples at random: Male Bonding, Tyrannosaurus Dead, tourmates Joanna Gruesome). Everything on 'Thrash Magic' is squeezed into the narrow audio confines of a "name your price" download. Listening on successively larger speakers (laptop, DVD player, hi-fi) fails to reveal hidden sonic depths. It's all buzzing away in the upper register.

Of course, Playlounge gaze wistfully, nostalgically at the US underground. Hüsker Dü and No Age cast a long shadow over these compact, offhand songs. "Daniel Clowes... You wrote my life" muses 'Sweet Tooth' (another title: 'Ghost Grrrl'). The sleeve traces them as Mike Judge sketches. They once called a song 'Conor, Oh Burst?' but that's as awkward as it gets.

This is a delightful record, a rapid sugar rush of feedback and angst. Playlounge don't need to make another. A magnesium flare and it's gone.

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