When Robert Quine died of an overdose earlier this month, pretty much every obituary mentioned that he revolutionized punk guitar in the 70s and 80s as a sideman for Lou Reed and Richard Hell. The enduring influence of that revolution is open to question–Quine’s avant-skronk wobbling is hardly lingua franca among the current crop of New York punks–but that hasn’t kept Chris Sanchez of the Fever from carrying its banner. As guitarist for that quintet of high-energy Brooklyn art-punks, he’s Quine’s ablest disciple, with the possible exception of Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. On the Fever’s debut, last year’s Pink on Pink EP (Kemado), Sanchez scribbled ingeniously over every song–I particularly like what he did to their spazzed-out misinterpretation of Sheila E.’s “The Glamorous Life.” For the band’s new full-length, Red Bedroom, the guitar has been muscled down into the mix by the drums and organ, which should provoke even more comparisons to early XTC–but while the Fever’s sound, like that of so many of their contemporaries, can be pinpointed by triangulating from their influences, they’re actually less stylized than their peers. With a front man like Geremy Jasper, they couldn’t pull off the chilly formalism of a band like the Rapture: his yelps communicate neuroses that sound as freewheeling as they do lived-in. And though the way Sanchez slots just the wrong notes into just the wrong places on “Hexxed” suggests he’s studied Quine’s playing on Rain Dogs late into the night, when he strikes out from the melody at an angle he proves he’s mastered that vocabulary in order to speak his own mind. Death From Above and the Changes open. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Friday, June 25, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Abbey Drucker.