The first thing that stands out on Static Delusions is the Seattle band's frontman, Brian Standeford, who screams like a tortured alley cat, emitting each feral syllable with dripping venom. His subject matter is aggressively dark as well, full of images of arson and ugliness. Even when Standeford lightens up a bit -- offering "I do my best to be warm and gentle" on one song -- he undercuts his words with sneering sarcasm.
Since Standeford's singing style recalls sleazy punk icon Iggy Pop, it's not surprising that the Catheters' music takes a page from the Stooges. With its sludgy guitar effects and quick pace, the group also recalls Northwest legends like Nirvana and Mudhoney -- even if the band members are barely old enough to remember when grunge began. All told, the Catheters herald the return of the seedy punk sound. Three a.m. never sounded so good.