Exactly the sort of people who shouldn't be allowed to watch [I]Fight Club[/I], [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a] are sick, death-fixated punks from somewhere in Austin, Texas....

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Madonna

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Madonna

Exactly the sort of people who shouldn’t be allowed to watch [I]Fight Club[/I], [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a] are sick, death-fixated punks from somewhere in Austin, Texas. [a]Madonna[/a] is their second LP, and like their inspired 1997 debut, it sounds like it was made in a mausoleum. By goblins.

Along with L/A/L, Les Savy Fav and The Go, …And You Will Know Us… are at the vanguard of a new American underground, diametrically opposed to the Pepsi Max grunge and big shorts horror of Blink 182, The Goo Goo Dolls and Limp Bizkit. Acting on the realisation that Sonic Youth haven’t made a really [I]essential[/I] record since 1988’s ‘Daydream Nation’, they’re working hard to fill the gap. The difference being that instead of just singing about Death Valley like Sonic Youth, they sound like they were born in it.

The songs here are about ghosts, celebrity murderers – ‘Mark David Chapman’ – and suicide. One of them’s called ‘Children Of The Hydra’s Teeth’. You get the feeling they need to get out more. Still, unnerving obsession with rotting corpses aside, [a]Madonna[/a] remains an excellent record, complete with carpet-bombing drums that don’t fit with any of the songs, crashing, baroque feedback and a deluge of wilful teenage nihilism. First Death In Vegas, now [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a] – we’re not joking, goth really is back.