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Looker: Great Expectations Meet Reality

Just because Looker's "Born In The Desert" doesn't have roaring power chords, a simple 4/4 backbeat or explicit aggression doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of songs like it that were categorized as punk during the late '70s. The do-it-yourself aesthetic of the time resulted in many different musical approaches, even if the quick codification of the canonical sound forced everything else underground to either die or eke out an existence long enough for "post-punk" music to arrive and make sense of it.

Perhaps that's why the synth whir and the chilly dispassion in Nicole Greco's vocal tempt comparison with new-wave instead. But there's immediacy to the harmonies and Morse-code guitar of "Born in the Desert," a seeming need to capture the noise in its purest form that draws most of all from first-wave D.I.Y. punk.

The song's momentum, on the other hand, is carried by the lyrical hook that starts it off: "We should know better, better, better / But we don't." It's not a chorus so much as a refrain that never quite goes away, and it identifies the song as addressing politics, whether geopolitical or interpersonal. Given the means and opportunity to do something positive, Greco sings, we're destined to fall short. Looker's victory lies in staring that fact dead in the eye — and, like the punks they are, singing right back into its face.

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Marc Hirsh
Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.