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Alice Donutwas never the popular band on the block. Despite upbeat albums like 1989's Buckets Full of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Lifeand 1992's The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children, these Lower East Side rock-star hopefuls couldn't manage to crawl out of the CBGB's underground and cash in on the post-Nirvana mainstreaming of punk.

This may have had something to do with the group's intimidating verbosity. One of its greatest tunes, "The Son of a Disgruntled X-postal Worker Reflects on His Life While Getting Stoned in the Parking Lot of a Winn Dixie Listening to Metallica," was no doubt a mouthful for the Nevermindgeneration to swallow. Of course, plenty of hungry subterraneans ate up the band's clever, unflinching indictments of American culture, its rhino-charging grooves, electrostatic guitars, and singer Tomas Antona's one-of-a-kind elfin incantations. But by 1996, the stress of constant touring with little chance of a big-time payoff wore down the group's spirit and Alice Donut broke up.

Last summer, the band quietly reunited, releasing its most succinct album to date on Howler Records, former bandmate David Giffen's unpublicized DIY imprint. Though Three Sisters still leans toward high-octane riffs and conscious rocking, a couple of tunes feature simple, catchy melodies that could easily make it to the top of the charts. But Antona has said in recent interviews that this time around the group's only in it for the fun, which means Alice Donut will remain a beloved secret among hipsters with both ears to the underground.

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