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Cannibal Smile (Widely Distributed) 1993

Chicago punk pioneer Lorna Donley — the bassist/singer/poet who led the group Da in the early '80s when the city's indie scene was first taking shape — returns with this trio, a harsh cage for her feral vocals and Joe Callahan's buzzing guitar. Although Donley tucks smart, detailed small-scale personal dramas into songs like "The Story of the I" and "Train Wreck," the lunging musical aggression and lurid B-movie ideology that laces through Cannibal Smile too often sacrifices those intellectual gifts to the angry gods of rock thunder.

[Ira Robbins]