As any scholar of transcontinental avant-garage knows, when the city once called The Mistake On The Lake exports weirdo discord, it is unassailably top-shelf. Scarcity Of Tanks shift manager Matthew Wascovich and his crew certainly have the 216 brew pumping through their veins, but Ringleader Lies also resides in a space without a place — a scene without a hometown. This firm rejection of rock’s compliant and predictable snuggling with its own sense of self delivers hard-won darkness and exile. Virtuosity on the album lays within its economy. The ship is tight, the route, self-determined yet bereft of congratulatory sentiment, a crucial by-pass of the armies of mediocre dunderheads forever inner-tubing down rivers of flaming shit. This incarnation of SOT excels at nuanced heaviness, Pedro-esque flirtation with the infinite abyss within, and the classic Stooges / Suicide / Torch Of The Mystics slow burn, where grooves hammer sickening hypnosis into fragments. Each track delivers delicious tension in both form and feel; Wascovich’s sturdy visions of rust-belt dystopia are barked and crooned like some -opathic character in an unpublished Warren Zevon short story crawling across bent and grime-slickened cement in an amaretto-colored delirium. His insistent, calcium-charged voice is optimized when flanked by riff and texture. Guitars disorient from an assortment of vantage points, one layer groaning with stone-eyed purpose, another layer riddled with piercing, calisthenic ack ack, another writhing like a magnetic jump rope locked in a Faraday cage as part of some arcane beta-AI protocol. Beautifully recorded by Paul Hamann at the legendary Suma Recording Studio, the material transcends the classic moves upon which it is based, and without which it couldn’t exist. Long live disappearing.
Scarcity Of Tanks is Dave Cintron - guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard, backing vocals; Nels Cline - guitar; Noah Depew - guitar; Doug Gillard - bass, guitar, acoustic guitar; Gnarlos - guitar, violin, keyboard, electronics; Paul Hamann - bass, engineer; Andrew Klimeyk - guitar; Pete Mazich - organ; John Petkovic - guitar, piano, backing vocals; Scott Pickering - drums, electronics, percussion, vibraphone, xylophone; Lee Ranaldo - guitar; Rich Raponi - guitar, bass; Sebastian Wagner - bass, electronics, synth; Matthew Wascovich - vocals; Tom Watson - guitar; Mike Watt - bass; Norman Westberg - guitar, 12-string guitar.