Rough as the low-bit-rate, MySpace-ripped, live version of “Dinner for a Dog” I’ve had on my iPod for the past year sounds, it was with some trepidation that I cued up the studio version that leads off The Lurks’ new debut disc. Because, in large part, what appeals to me about the song, beyond its spry melody and clever lyrics, is its distinct lack of polish.
Not to worry. The first cut on Avoid Lurks—and the rest of the nine-track, 25-minute bar-punk affair, for that matter—comes off appropriately raw. Quint Olsen’s voice is still gritty as emery, and the trio’s instrumentation retains that fresh, did-it-in-one-take quality (check the endearingly tremulous harmonica solo midway through “Dinner” for proof). There’s even an awesomely rugged cover of The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” done in total seriousness, apart from the “No. 9” intro bit.
If you’ve never seen the band at the Double Down or Bunkhouse, Avoid will give you a true idea you’re missing; if you’re already a regular, it’ll bring the Lurks experience into your living room without waking up the neighbors.