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Features and Reviews Capital City Free Press vs. The Ed Kemper Trio
9/1/2002Kristin ThomasCD Review: Ed Kemper Trio: "How to Win a Sword Fight"

Refreshing and ever so raw is how I would best describe the Ed Kemper Trio's latest contribution to the indie rock scene with "How to Win a Sword Fight."

Signed to Yawn Records last year, this group has been hard at work and it shows. Definitely not something my country-loving father would appreciate, as per the usual, the album isn't the usual prefabricated, overly manufactured crap you hear coming out of the major labels.

Instead, what was created is that edgy, raw sound reminiscent of yesteryear's punk days, only with more talent, intelligence and originality.

It would not be fair to categorize what these guys have done because they break the traditional mainstream mold of rock. Technically, the trio has this math rock appeal intermingled with a good dose of old school punk and hardcore that many of us gray-haired punkers can identify with and any young punk can appreciate.

With a driving rhythm, heavy bass, acidic vocals, chaotic guitar and samples that seemingly come straight from the mind of Nick Blinko--Kenny, Vonda and Glenn engage in a full assault on your senses. This album does not deviate from that pattern. More like mad scientists in their laboratory, the Kempers have created something definitely unique and a little frightening. It'll make you want to dance around like a chicken and yell like a madman. It's one of those grab-you-by-the-balls kind of feelings.

This is just about the best album the Kempers have put out to date and one of the best CD buys of the year.

-- Kristin Thomas