Album Review



Every so often an album comes along that defines a generation, an album that works well with every drug and every mood; an album that gets scratched into your soul. Man.

This album is not one of those albums.

Following the gradual maturation of the previous two releases, this latest disc promises a return to the rougher sound and fury of the late 70’s Sun Ra/corporate christmas party-era Beach Boys/early Morbid Angel-indebted self-titled debut. Or so the press kit would have you believe. In actuality, this album sucks just as much as its immediate predecessors — not quite so much as to replace this text with a youtube video of a chimpanzee drinking its own piss, but almost.

You know full well that your friends were just playing nice when you gushed on and on about Joe Frontman’s recent flirtations with both vulgar libertarianism and refined post-Marxist post-colonial post-structuralist postism and how he manages to reconcile his bruised former punk-rock ideals with his current chain-restaurant jingle writing gig by posting amphetamine-fueled screeds on his Myspace. You know they were quietly rolling their eyes beneath the stubby brims of their Castro hats and absentmindedly fingering the carabiner keychains in their left jacket pockets while thinking about their upcoming student loan payment and that last Shins album.

But on the second through twelfth listens, you start to realize that maybe they’re on to something. Everything is polished to an MOR sheen, compressed into oblivion. The vocals are the highest in the mix that they have ever been, but Frontman doesn’t have much to say — half the songs are designed for American Eagle in-store mix CDs and the other half really are about how the moon looks during the month of June. Sure, astronomy is cool and all, but where’s the piss and vinegar? The anthems?

The “I’m 32, but I’m still an angry young(ish) man” statements of purpose?

I don’t know, but they’re not on this album.

So you inexplicably go to the mall and buy some new clothes to pacify yourself, looking for that certain sweater to remind you of when Frontman first spoke to you, singled you out in a crowded dressing-room wait area and scooped out a chunk of your prefrontal lobe with his not-quite-catchy-enough-to-be-cloying musical scalpel while your girlfriend tried on graphic tees. You know, when you were young — pre-first sexual disease, post-Marcy Playground album ownership.

When the wind was fresh, the sky was blue and the moon shone clear in the month of June. Kind of like the way I feel about you.


So don’t buy this album — as a fictional music journalist, I implore you. Don’t even bother downloading it. And if you already have, sell it or delete it.

And apologize to your friends while you still can.


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