Is there a steadier formation in rock music than the power trio? History has proven that the primal pull of bass, drums and a guitar is unquestionably preferred above any other lineup. Even Led Zeppelin added Robert Plant as an afterthought. Make it a four-piece and the results will bristle. On local boys Fake Limbs’ sophomore effort, the forthcoming “The Power of Patrician Upbringing,” it’s hard to discern the lead vocalist. Is it Stephen Sowley, the guy actually tasked with singing, or Bryan Gleason, the guitarist who refuses to be outshone? The two are at each other’s throats for the duration of the record, trading screams for solos and barks for feedback. The rhythm section, Mat Biscan on bass and Nick Smalkowski on drums, pummel their instruments to keep up, but to no avail. The effect is irrepressible, wild, unkempt—something like a 5am drunken walk home alone, which is incidentally the subject matter for lead track “Green Chartreuse.” Sowley’s authoritative presence holds dominion during live performances; scenes from their show with Pissed Jeans, a Sub Pop punk band with more than a little in common with Fake Limbs, had the singer sprawled out across the stage, antagonizing the crowd to participate in the frenzy, and blocking would-be iPhone photographers from cherishing the moment. It might sound like carefully calculated rock posturing, but it’s not, and that’s what makes the band the most realistic heirs to The Jesus Lizard’s spirit. Contained within the angular aggression that befits their attitude is an astute intelligence that pushes the audience to confront the tropes of local living. Album highlight “Hairwrecker” has Sowley stuttering while he insists again and again that he’s not creepy, while closer “Kill The Mouth” offers a nuanced view of hypocritical bourgeois attitudes toward cops. Finally! Not your average punk band. (Kenneth Preski)
November 15 at The Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia, (773)227-4433. 10pm. $8. 21+.