The Seconds

styles: no wave, punk, lo-fi,
others: Get Hustle, Mae Shi, Brainiac, Six Finger Satellite, Erase Errata

5RC, 2006
rating: 0/5
reviewer: willcoma

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.

1. Moving
2. Sister
3. Scheisse
4. Sleeping
5. Say
6. Teeth
7. S+V
8. Dogsickle
9. Tintal
10. Dedicated to the One Eye
11. (gtr)