Record Review - 4 June 03 2004

For years, this Aussie three-piece has resided in that "Best Band You've Never Heard" category. Maybe it's because the band's Australian. Maybe it's because of distribution or marketing. Probably both. Gerling's previous two full-lengths, Children of Telepathic Experiences and When Young Terrorists Chase the Sun, were products of the band's wicked AD/HD: each was divided into half-house, half-frenetic indie rock, and both aspects were near perfect in and of themselves.

On BadBlood!!!, however, it's like Gerling's electronic side made love to its rock side and conceived a bizzarro baby. It's an awkward offspring, to be sure; it's fond of handclaps and voice distortion, but it sure as hell knows how to have fun.

BadBlood!!! busts out of the womb with "Blood on the Microphone Part 1," an absurdly hyperactive song featuring elements of the rawk, the electronic and the tribal. This is Gerling at its best, whipping its kid power at your face like a yo-yo in perfect 1-2-3-4 rhythm.

What you realize by the time "In the City" finishes its Strokes-ish ecstacy is that Gerling wants you to like it, to really dig it. The band isn't afraid of excess — that "wall of sound" that quenches every want we have for catchy melodies and cinematic atmosphere. The rest of the album is drenched in it, but it's anything but unsettling.

It's funny, then, that about halfway through "We Got Venom," an electronic voice asks the question: "Can you really fuse together punk rock music and house?"

Apparently you can.

Gerling plays the Echo Lounge 9 p.m., Wed., June 9. $12.