And yet this 45-minute live album mostly does away with the milk chaser, with four and a half cuts of guitar distortion, feedback, and strangled chaos. Get past the nails-on-chalkboard opening minutes, however, and the cleanser turns out to be less like Ajax than Bon Ami, the non-abrasive powder with a cute little picture of a newly hatched chick and the motto "Hasn't scratched yet!" Each noisy phase slowly gives birth to a logical structure, redolent with warm harmonic overtones. When Straw finally slips into a regular song, in the last half of track five ("Louisville, KY @ Artswatch 2/25/02"), it's not sweet relief -- it's bittersweet culmination.
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