styles: no wave, punk, lo-fi,
others: Get Hustle, Mae Shi, Brainiac, Six Finger Satellite, Erase Errata
Let's see here... Punker primadonnas bleating in unison? Jaded (they come any
other way?) scenesters scraping out the bowl to catch a cheap minimalism high?
Gabba Gabba Bray? I got this promo around the same time as Mae Shi's DVD, and
while both of these 5RC bands do roughly the same thing (stab-pinprick-stab-drawabeadofblood-stab-nothing-stab-nothing-stabstabstabstabstab...),
Mae Shi managed to come off a bit better due to all the neat little cartoons
accompanying their blatant jab-in-the-dark songs.
Kratitude's instantaneously needling repetition might sting on impact,
but there are virtually no ideas here to get one's blood up and out to spatter
along. It's like Confusion Is Sex for dummies. And their
pretension-filled press release doesn't help them either (that's not fair – I
know. Much artpunk press can come across pretentious depending on who y'are.).
I'll focus on what I'm hearing here. The tracks are disaffected exercises in
barren repetition and arrhythmic progressions that feel truly tossed off
(improvised would be an insult to people who are actually accomplished at that)
and indulgently "arty" in the worst sense of the word. It's almost as irritating
as that hideous People record (shudder).
The chanting repetition in unison thing has been done infinitely better as a
device within a jam rather than as an end unto itself. These songs just sound
like bored indie kids without ideas blowing off steam. Let's say I saw some
drunken, obnoxious fratboy type harassing this band at a show. I wouldn't cheer
him on, but if the sounds on this record were coming from the stage, I'd be
completely unsympathetic to the band. The Liars' last two albums contain similar
approaches (infantile nonsense babble included), only the sound is a helluva lot
more deep and involving. Although I'm all for a primal, stripped-down approach
to guitar music, the simplicity of Kratitude comes across as mere
patience-testing drivel. I even like me a bit of that (Liars, Wolf Eyes, Macho
Man's last one), but one's gotta have lines!
I don't want to totally malign Seconds - It's one of my favorite movies!
Seriously folks, you should see it. It stars Rock Hudson as a young host body
for an old man and has some fine, creepily mesmerizing cinematography. It works
like a potent mix between the painfully awkward interrelations of Cassavetes and
the compelling grimness of a Twilight Zone story. Really, it's probably director
John Frankenheimer's best work!
Ah, but I've always sort of regretted these snotty reviews – with good reason.
I'm really not a mean person, and facelessly dissing people's work online feels
cowardly. At least that proverbial fratboy type (who, indeed, may just be a
jocky music conservatory guy) had the drunken guts to put down the band to their
faces. I guess the sewerpeople sounds of the Seconds clan is just not my cuppa.
It's 97% sans melody and the rhythms couldn't manage to make this reviewer shake
or even twitch with anything approaching pleasure. All that was left was the
bland-as-art murmuring and that VERY familiar no wave guitar jangle. But I know
there's an audience out there for this sort of thing. If you're the kind of
person that likes anything Thurston poops out between actually putting together
songs, the Seconds just might float your boat. You shouldn't listen to me. I
mean, I've never made it through a single Derek Bailey composition.
10. Dedicated to the One Eye