Estee Louder – Ohio’s Best (CD)

The final disc out of a three-disc assault by Diaphragm Records, Estee Louder is by far the most punk and dirt-rock influenced of the three acts. This does not stop Estee Louder from being extraordinarily well-versed with their instruments and the arrangements put forward on “Ohio’s Best”. The two-vocal assault found in “Ohio’s Best” runs parallel with the first X album, even down to the aural similarities enjoyed by “Bob City” and the X classic “Sex and Dying in High Society”. Just like Patti Smith, the aforementioned X, early Talking Heads, and the like perceptibly color the sound of Estee Louder, and the retro sound of the band is enjoyable in the period of anti-septic bore-fests like The Fight. The moments when the female voice achieves some sort of harmony, such as “Gunned Down” provide the listeners with moments near perfection. This is the same case with Estee Louder’s Misfits-homage in “I Was A Teenage Mullet”, where Ray Ray’s vocals recall to the T Danzig’s part on all those old Misfits albums.

If “Ohio’s Best” was released twenty years ago, it would be required listening to get into the extra-exclusive PUNK RAWK club. As it is right now, it is the perfect album to use as a bridge between new and old – carefully cultivating a middle ground between the earliest days of New York punk and Seattle grunge, rockabilly and Detroit rock. The Bowie cover on this disc, “Moonage Daydream” has some of the glam that the original brought to the table, but is placed into the current by the re-tooling of the track by the capable hands of Estee Louder. As such, if there wasn’t a note about this fact I would have probably just written it off as another Estee Louder track. “77 Nova”’s straight-forward rock focus, almost Monster Magnet-esque in its simplistic goal, provides some late-minute fuel to let the disc coast to its inevitable end.

While I can’t say that Estee Louder is definitely “Ohio’s Best” (remember, Bow Wow comes from Columbus), they are by far some of the most cohesive and coherent music to ever come out from the area. They can go right up into the highest echelons of Ohio’s music alongside Pere Ubu, and you will hear nary a complaint from me. Scope this disc out at any costs, even if it involves sending out a tenner to Diaphragm Records directly.

Top Tracks: Moonage Daydream, I Was A Teenage Mullet

Rating: 7.8/10

Estee Louder – Ohio’s Best / 2004 Diaphragm Records / 10 Tracks / http://www.diaphragmrecords.com / Reviewed 01 February 2005

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