12 Rods: Gay? 12 Rods 
[V2; 1996]
Rating: 10.0
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I've praised this one before in Three Blocks from Groove Street, but damn it all if Mr. Schreiber doesn't want an official review. Glad to oblige because it means I get to listen to it again. And again. And again. Hell, I listened to Gay? three times yesterday and didn't get tired of it. In fact, to tire of this thoroughly wonderful disc is going to take awhile.

12 Rods is like everything and nothing, occupying a special nook in my head where music is wonderful and I believe in superheroes again. Six songs, not one wasted moment. Things open with the death march pummel of "Red", a song that has the musical drive of early Killing Joke with heartfelt, yearning lyrics. I've read a couple of reviews comparing lead singer Ryan Olcott to Ozzy Osbourne, and alright, there's some similarity, but this isn't exactly "Perry Mason". From "Red", we ease into "Make Out Music", a wistful recollection of hometown boredom and school bullies that takes a lyrical turn through an old Ziggy cartoon (no, you read that right) before plowing into the awesome lyrics, "I realize what I gotta do/ Nyah nanny boo boo/ Nanny nanny boo boo."

If that's not sensitive enough for you, the twangy, lonely "Gaymo" should do it. "I would talk forever if every word I said would make you laugh until you cried," is the unspoken thought that many guys (me, in particular) would smile upon hearing in a song. "Mexico", the disc's fourth track, is a wild ride through some post-disco landscape navigated by pulsating polyrhythmic bongos straight out of "Copacabana" but masterfully surfing new wave territory. "Friend" is dreamy and lonely, perfect for those rainy days and sunsets, and the final track, "Revolute", is ten minutes of kicking Geddy Lee in the balls and living to tell the tale.

Look, I'm not going to lie to you. I hear a lot of mediocrity from bands just starting out. This is 12 Rods' first release, and if this is any sign of things to come, I have faith in the future of music. Look for their full-length in early '98.

-Jason Josephes, May 01, 1996

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