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back to album reviews home Artist: The Rum Diary Title: Poison That Saves Lives Label: Substandard Purchase at: Interpunk Purchase at: Amazon

The Rum Diary continues to defy a concrete description. All anyone can say is that they are “good.” The Rum Diary’s elusiveness comes from the complexity of their music. Imagine a huge house with over 27 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a dining room, family room, two kitchens, 5 car garage, a circular pool in the backyard with a black bottom and 300 acres of land. Now put one of every kind of person into that house, in the pool or somewhere on the property (a pseudo biblical arc). Things are going to happen. If those things could be made into sound it would come from The Rum Diary. From indie to pop to prog to math to synth to new wave to no wave, these guys cannot be pinned with a genre and that is what makes them great. Poisons that Saves Lives picks up where A Key to Slow Time left us. It brushes back into the ears like a breeze in late august coming off the grape vines in northern California. It is a little chilly, but always welcome. The echoing guitars, double drums, floating vocals and scattered rhythms are all back. After this disc is done the sounds stay with you, resonating. You feel it for a long time afterward, like a first kiss or close death. What else can I say about these guys? I love this band.

Pete Soyer