Chris Cochrane's Suck Pretty | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chris Cochrane's Suck Pretty 


With his new band Suck Pretty, Lower East Side guitarist Chris Cochrane molds rock experimentalism, pop hooks, and queer politics into one unified entity. A longtime citizen of John Zorn's genre-hopping nation, Cochrane has worked with Fred Frith, Marc Ribot, and David Garland and served in bands like Bongwater, the Same, and most significantly the terrific No Safety. He's also a fine, twisted improviser. In the past he's usually favored the rough-hewn approach, relishing inventive sonic chaos over all else, but with time he's tempered his work with melody and structure, as on last year's Bath (Avant), a nicely ragged, mostly solo collection. Suck Pretty's debut, 3 Heads (Knitting Factory Works), showcases Cochrane's pop smarts but never succumbs to them fully. Keeping the melodies at bay are Cochrane's knotty guitar work, the band's sizable grooves, and the occasional structural shuffle--such as the way the pleasant lope in "Stolen" is interrupted by efficient blasts of confusion. Though Cochrane's an adequate vocalist, singer Dudley Saunders makes the guitarist's tunefulness more convincing. Lyrically Cochrane addresses the travails of gay relationships, but most of his writing has the same elliptical artfulness as his music. This gig, copresented by Homocore Chicago, marks Suck Pretty's Chicago debut. Opening are the Prescriptions, a new combo featuring Sarah Contorer of the Smoothies and Laura Masura from Motorhome. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620. PETER MARGASAK

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