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Record Review

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Even garage bands as dedicated to the form as Detroit's the Hentchmen need to move upstairs into better digs eventually. And after a decade of proud lo-fi recordings, that time has come for the guitar/organ/drums trio.

Thankfully, the extra spit-polish doesn't slick up the raw sound any more than changing the oil in a Dodge Neon turns it into a Jaguar. The three-piece still doesn't need no stinkin' bass to make a racket worthy of ? & the Mysterians in their prime. And when the trio tears into the dozen grinding rockers on this album, you won't care about the extra "t" in its moniker any more than anyone ever missed the "a" in Led.

Chief Hentchman keyboardist/vocalist Johnny Volare sings like his pants are on fire. Riffs blaze, keyboard lines slap and tickle, and if the beat doesn't get you shimmying like a go-go dancer on Hullabaloo, you haven't spent enough time with your Nuggets box set. Even the lone cover is an obscure Frank Zappa freak-out circa 1967.

Music from the "then" generation never sounded so "now." And with the sonic grime removed, the audio blasts out of the speakers with the force of a pounding migraine. You can take the band out of the garage, but you can't take the stench of oil, soot and raucous abandon out of the Hentchmen's rockin' bones.

The Hentchmen perform Thurs., May 12, at Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. $13-$15. 9 p.m. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.

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