It’s a rare album for which a Urinals namedrop serves as a meaningful reference, but IVXLCDM is such a record. These Angelinos sound old beyond their years, perhaps in part because they approach music from a visual arts background, like many of their influences from the earliest reaches of post-punk. The quintet’s repertoire consists mostly of one- and two-chord vamps, but Wounded Lion attacks them with a Burma/Ubu/Pink Flag force, and anyone familiar with those icons has already decided whether to check this out.
Four of Wounded Lion’s members are credited with bass duties, which explains the low-end throb that propels these ten tracks. On their debut the band took some dings for sounding overly goony- so credit newcomer Lars Finberg for extinguishing any such shortcomings. Finberg’s take-no-prisoners drumming credentials have been firmly established in the incendiary A-Frames, and he brings a similar severity to bear here.
Wounded Lion’s lyrics still aren’t a strong suit, but that’s hardly the point. After numerous two-minute punk blasts, the height of IVXLCDM’s intensity arrives on “Raincheck Vibrations,” a seven minute monster that if you listen closely consists of plot synopses of Love Boat and Batman episodes, as recounted by a borderline manic Brad Eberhard. (Obscure reference point alert: anyone remember Tripod Jimmie?) The band then wraps up the proceedings with an unrecognizable cover of Lou Reed’s “Oh, Jim,” introducing a Farfisa and some of the Velvets’ trademark strum to the Berlin nugget.
IVXLCDM captures a raw immediacy – for some reason I can vividly picture tracks like “Roman Values” blowing the doors off the back of the EARL’s music room. These Lions may be wounded, but they’re defiantly untamed.
[In The Red]