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Alt-rock heroes the Jesus Lizard return with Rack, their first album since 1998, loaded with the guitar-driven fury that has endeared them to fans for over 30 years.

The Jesus Lizard, one of the most original and influential alt rock bands to come out of the '90s, return with Rack, their first new album since 1998's Blue. The 11-song collection kicks off with "Hide & Seek," described by frontman David Yow as “a perky ditty about a witch who can’t behave, with nearly as many hooks as a Mike Tyson fight.” The foursome of Duane Denison, Mac McNeilly, David Wm. Sims, and Yow recorded the track with producer Paul Allen at Nashville’s Audio Eagle Studio.

“There are definitely some references to the past,” says Denison about the album, “but it’s more as a point of departure: we don’t stay there.” The band, which reconvened in 2009 for a few shows, have remained close friends and touring bandmates ever since. “We literally only made the record because we thought it would be fun,” shares Sims. McNeilly adds, “We are bonded by the music we make and the respect we have for each other.”

Since forming in Chicago in 1987, the Jesus Lizard have thrilled audiences worldwide. The rhythm section of Sims and McNeilly provides the perfect launchpad for Denison’s jagged yet clean-toned riffing and Yow’s mercurial vocalizations. Their fury has carried through six studio albums, two live recordings, and a batch of singles and EPs, culminating now in their seventh album, Rack.

Normally, news of a band releasing a new album is met by journalists with a collective yawn. But when a band follows up their last album from over 26 years ago, it’s a bold move. When that band is the Jesus Lizard, it’s an event. Rack, produced by Paul Allen, features 11 tracks of brisk energy, with no tepid, bland tracks to show fake maturity, no unnecessary genre exercises, and no contrived experimental moves.

The first single “Hide & Seek,” for example, finds Yow singing with remarkable clarity, supported by the band’s patented acceleration. The noir vibes of “What If?” take the band in a startling new direction, with Yow narrating an elaborate backstory. “Alexis Feels Sick” reflects Girls Against Boys/Soulside drummer Alexis Fleisig’s guarded opinion of modern life, turning into a treatise on man’s inhumanity to man. “Moto(R)” plays out like the coolest car at a rock festival, and “Falling Down” reminds us in just under three-and-a-half minutes how marvelously badass the Jesus Lizard has always been.

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