Former Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes vocalist/guitarist Rick Froberg reinvents his visceral approach to songwriting with Obits’ debut, I Blame You. The teeth-gnashing assaults of his prior groups come to a yearning, girl-group speed with these 12 songs. Gritty, repeating guitar lines and Froberg’s wiry rants are unmistakable in “Widow of My Dreams” and “Fake Kinkade.” Not until Edsel guitarist/vocalist Sohrab Habibion sings in “Run” are the differences between Obits and Froberg’s prior endeavors laid bare. These songs embrace hooks more than jittery torment. With its big, bounding rhythms and vintage pop melancholy, closing number “Back and Forth” captures the essence of Obits’ drive to harness the art of timeless rock and roll. 4 stars.
Obits play the Drunken Unicorn with Bear Hands and the Orphans. $10. 9 p.m. Tues., March 17. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.