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LABEL: ...Themselves? RELEASE DATE: ??? GENRE: Sound Collage/Rock
// review by Jeff

Proof that you should judge a book by its cover.

Y'know, I come across a mixed variety of good music and bad music on a regular basis. And then there are occasions when I come across things that are so direly weird that I just don't understand why people try. Let me set the scene for you: it's a crisp spring morning and I, unfortunately, have class in the afternoon. I need to stop at the university's food court for some potentially edible vittles to provide me with the energy I need to keep my eyelids up. But at the door is a booth for our radio station, and they're offering free promotional music CDs if you make a donation. It didn't matter how much your donation was or how many CDs you actually took. I think they were just trying to expend some inventory and get a bit of cash in the meantime. I stocked up on a whole bunch of them, filling up my quaint knapsack with perhaps 15 of those suckers. One of them was this:

Yeah, if the packaging alone didn't turn me off, I must have been determined. Look at that monstrosity. It's made of padded tinfoil, and even though you can't see it in the images, it's actually one piece of material, folded in half and then very poorly sewn together with green thread. It's not even a flat casing, as part of it curls up at the corner. It's very tight, though, so getting out the CD is more than a challenge and will put off many people with its eternal removal struggle. Then somebody cut out a rectangle of that foiled padding and wrote the band's name on it. Looks like they hot-glued that logo so that made certain that everybody knew that this was THEIR doing. I can't say that was the smartest move. The backside is even worse. Part of the foil cover is torn. Okay, a LARGE part of it is torn, but that's just fine because the author physically wrote out the tracklist, cut it out, and pasted it ever-so-cleverly to cover it up. Fail. They also included a link to their MySpace page, although some of the adhesive material came off, so that little strip of paper has curled. If they're trying to impress me, they have not performed well. I know indie bands don't make much money, but jewel cases aren't all that expensive, you know...

So after a 10-minute battle getting the CD out, I popped it in, hoping and praying that they were just adding suspense by forcing us to wait intensely before hearing the music. Immediately once you start listening, you know that this trip will be unpleasant. The first song, Sure Sure, sets the lousy tone. It's obviously live and presents itself like a dog laying feces in your ear. The vocalist is a whiny bit of something else, but more prominently, the guitars sound gritty and horribly unmastered. They must have bought the same little hand-held tape recorder I did when I was 10 for this. All I really hear over and over is "What does a guy want?" and "What does a girl want?", and it's getting on my nerves. Moving on...

Mouthback is a completely different affair, described only under the genre of "sound collage", using a variety of female vocal samples amply describing where I should put my genitals and what I ought to do with her lips and "clam". It's infinitely more entertaining than the previous track, but I'm still not even remotely sold on Batter Recharger. The next song is called Ital Is Vital, named after the fact that for Rastafarians, ital IS vital! It's also live, it sounds like a crackly bass-laden rock concert caught on a cellphone. I hoped that the next song, Peace & Quiet, would be relaxing. Turns out it wasn't. It's a sound collage again, combining the creepiness of every single sci-fi film ever made into one amplifier-splitting horrific mess. Why is this song 10 minutes long? It should be -3 minutes long. Casio Twins is also a sound collage, consisting of just whistling and other gritty nonsense.

I think I'm getting the message with this "album". It's a mix of almost brainless samples clashes and repugnant live performances to fill the void. I've diarrheafied better music than this for sure. I dared to trek on past the fifth track, only to discover that the pattern continues and never for the better. The only redeeming qualities were a nice (yet still dismal) conversation called Went To The Store about lipstick, shopping, and dry carrots, and the nine-point-five minute Lake Bearshe, which sounded far more ambient than everything else. Unfortunately, the disc will only play about half of the song because there's a medium-sized crusty smudge on the bottom that I swear I didn't put there. Or is that for the better?

At this point, I'm perfect fine with just walking away from this album and never looking back. I admit that I have not always been the biggest proponent of indie music such as this, and this album may be the ultimate justifier. From the beyond subpar packaging to the beyond subpar production values to the beyond subpar listenability, I'm sad to say that I even own this. Heed my call, and be thankful that you likely will never, ever get to hear it.


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