Every six months or so I find myself believing that rock ‘n’ roll has reached the end of the line, that every last drop of life has been wrung from it. Fortunately, something always comes along to prove how silly this is–and this time around it’s the relentless, hard-rocking racket on Lend You a Hand (Kill Rock Stars), the new album by the Tight Bro’s From Way Back When. Based in Olympia, Washington, the Bro’s piqued my curiosity with their 1999 debut, Runnin’ Thru My Bones, whose ridiculously jacked-up velocity indicated an increasingly typical obeisance to the MC5. But the music flew by in such a blur, blitzing instead of swinging, that it was hard to grab onto anything–and front man (and former Karp bassist) Jared Warren screeched like his big toe was in a vise. That’s all changed on the new album: the quintet has learned to focus its attack, and it hasn’t sacrificed a bit of energy in the process. Warren’s vocals aren’t any less shrill, but now his wild yammering has a shape, placing the crazed howl of AC/DC’s Bon Scott into the R & B-derived Motor City aesthetic. And the twin guitars lock neatly together in rapid-fire unison riffs, break into call-and-response jabs, or erupt into short bursts of double-lead caterwauling. The hyperactive tempos that give the music its kick can just as easily feel tiresome if you’re not in the mood, and there ain’t a lick of originality here, but the Tight Bro’s definitely have a handle on that intangible something all good rock bands know about–you can feel it a hell of a lot easier than you can explain it. Sunday, September 9, 9 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700. Monday, September 10, 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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