Flip over a copy of the Demon’s Claws The Defrosting Of… and you’ll see the In The Red logo, so it wouldn’t be outlandish to expect another platter of overdriven garage-punk that probably contains nods to raw blues and classic-rock recordings. While the Demon’s Claws definitely deliver in that regard, what elevates The Defrosting Of… above being just another In The Red catalog entry is the sheer diversity of the record, and how proficiently the band is able to shift from style to ragged style. There are three distinct types of songs on this album: straightforward garage-punk ragers, twangy psych-country burners, and songs that can only be described as genre excursions. Somehow — chalk it up to the sequencing, perhaps — it all makes sense together.
Even within the classifications listed above, there exists variation. When it comes to the punkier tracks, “At The Disco” follows a pretty simple pattern but distinguishes itself with ultra-melodic clean guitar lines, high-pitched synth blasts, and an ending accented by squalls of six-string noise. “Last Time At The Pool” could be viewed as a reaction to indie rock’s apparent collective beach fixation — an anthem for the landlocked who don’t have natural bodies of water to romanticize.
As for the unclassifiable songs, they stand as examples of the band remembering to never sacrifice catchiness for the sake of experimentation. “Catch Her By The Tail” succeeds because of its cocky, finger-snapping swagger and the mournful guitar/vocal duet that makes up the verses. “Mona’s Lunch” saunters along like the soundtrack to a movie scene where a dusty cowboy finally makes a triumphant return to town from the brutal countryside, even if the lyrics are about chicken strips and “track[ing] dog shit all through the house.”
Yes, most of the songs here do not even begin to approach dead-seriousness in terms of lyrical content. Instead, they stand as celebrations of the low and sleazy. In “Mona’s Lunch,” people may talk down her mid-day meal of chicken strips, but she’s unaffected. Opener “Fed From The Hand” finds the band revering personal submission to others. The song “Fucked On Ketamine” is about exactly that, but it’s cowpunk bounce makes it sound like a blast, while album closer “You’ll Always Be My Friend” has its protagonist washing down his Xanax with Coke.
The Demon’s Claws might portray themselves as decadent revelers in their songs and interviews (this one especially), which is an attitude that might turn off some listeners, but what is apparent after listening to The Defrosting Of… is that they’re much smarter than they let on. There’s a restlessness that seems to drive them to make varied albums such as this, which in turn gives them a chance at a viable extended lifespan in the world of garage punk. They might describe themselves in press material as “liars and scumbags,” but they make it really hard not to root for them.