Marriage by fire: Grooms find the joy

Pub date November 28, 2009

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(Death by Audio)

By Kimberly Chun

Grooms is a slightly better name than Muggabears, the moniker of vocalist-guitarist Travis Johnson’s original teenaged bedroom recording project — it errs on the side of blah-blankness rather than cute-grotesquerie. Regardless, **Rejoicer** makes me want to look for Johnson in the future.

Sonic Youth and its **Speed Trials** ilk are the touchstones here — from the refined, sensuous use of carefully controlled noise blasts to Johnson’s smudgy, adolescent yowl — while the addition of drummer Jim Sykes conjures thoughts of his former combo Parts and Labor. It’s as if the threesome were on a treasure hunt for junked beauty among the grunge era’s corroded metal salvage shop — with breaks for twanging, seductively supple guitar torture — and listening to this thoughtfully assembled collection of songs, I’d say they’ve found what they were searching for.