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Three or four years ago, Fetchin Bones was just another guitar-strewn group of rural rockers cutting their studio teeth with the assistance of laid-back demi-wizard Don Dixon (R.E.M., etc). On that record, Bad Pumpkin, they romped around the fringes of hard rock, toying with cowpunk on one side and zanier stuff (a Television-at-the-beach instrumental) on the other. They’ve progressed steadily since. The three guys and two women still look (and occasionally sound) like the children of Quicksilver Messenger Service, but lead singer Hope Nicholls breaks out of this most of the time with a nasty drawl and ever-improving lyrics. On Monster, their newest, things are hyped up a bit, apparently by producer Ed Stasium, who’s done wonderful things with the Ramones, Soul Asylum, and Living Colour. Monster sounds quite often like a Cult album. I’ve got nothing against the Cult, but what happened to Fetchin Bones’ geographical roots? Anyway the songs, single-minded as always, are fine, particularly “Mr. Bad,” scary and gritty. And live this bunch has always been a ball. Saturday, 11: 30 PM Cabaret, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jay Buchsbaum.