San Francisco band the Tunnel makes spooky art punk blues, a blend of noisy noir (e.g., Swans, Young Widows, Dead Rider) and haunted sensuality (Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Kaleidoscope,” the Birthday Party’s “Mutiny”). More intimate and spacious than the Tunnel’s previous record, “Sultry Daggers,” “Apparition Overdrive” was written collectively by two new collaborators, drummer Jon Weiss (Jello Biafra, Helios Creed, Horsey) and Rowland S Howard-esque guitarist Gregory James, along with the returning Sam Black (bass/electronics) and Jeff Wagner (vocals/guitar). Dark melodies insinuate themselves through these spare songs, alternately driving (“The Visitant”, “Curse of Winter”, “Restless City”) and cinematic (“Crooked Arms”,
“What Can Never Be.”) The unhinged title track, “Apparition Overdrive,” sounds like a one-off collaboration between Gene Vincent and Al Jourgensen. Prowling post-punk rhythms evolve into eerie, electric fever dreams (“Binary”, “Phantasmic”) and American nightmares rear their pretty heads (“The Hills”, “Lights”.) Throughout, Wagner’s tales of love and loss are disguised as lurid pulp: Dark Science incantations, demon-chasing hot-rods, and doomed outer-space rivalries between aristocratic snake and rat creatures. “Apparition Overdrive” was recorded and mixed in San Francisco by Sam Black and mastered in Chicago by Carl Saff (Unsane, Grails).
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