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For roughly two years, a near eternity in today’s local punk rock landscape, the Monorchid played an edgy brand of claustrophobic paranoia rock, alternately explosive and implosive, with the kind of candle-burning-at-both-ends energy that most bands no longer bother attempting. Then they split up last September. Who Put Out the Fire, the band’s posthumous release, stands as something of a tombstone to mark the memory of the Monorchid’s intensity. As on Let Them Eat… and the band’s other previous efforts, the songs here are woven of noodling guitar duels that create a sometimes annoying neurotic swirl of Southern-tinged twang. Don’t let that fool you, though, this is a punk record, after all. Snappy snare-heavy drumming and thick, driving bass help hold together the album’s ambitious spirit, and the band frequently opens up into all-out noise barrage and old-school punk vibe on tracks like “X Marks the Spot: Something Dull Happened Here” and “Sink the West Coast.” Singer Chris Thomson improves upon his trademark delivery style, spitting his lyrics in rapid-fire streams as if every word were some distasteful morsel to be quickly rid of. Toward the end of the album, the band turns reflective with “A Was for Anarchy,” moving into a sprightly, well-crafted instrumental, before finishing off with the cover “Abyss,” a rousing punk anthem circa ’78 (courtesy of Danish rockers Sort Sol) in which Thomson comes off sounding like a latter-day Sex Pistol. The question remains: Who did put out the fire? The D.C. rumor mill fails to provide answers, but this record captures the flame beautifully.

—Colin Bane