Not quite Sonic Youth. Not quite Lush. Not
Quite Curve. Not quite Magnapop. Not quite Sky
Cries Mary. Not quite Liz Phair. Not quite My
Bloody Valentine. Not quite Stereolab. Not quite
Veruca Salt. Not quite Belle And Sebastian.
Not quite Babes In Toyland. Not quite Throwing Muses.
Not quite Pixies.
The album begins with a bit of "Little Fever",
a droning melancholic tune that harkens back to the glory
days of the noisepop/shoegaze era. There is feedback nicely
controlled under fuzzed out guitars and slow moving drums,
which covers nicely the haunting vocal track. "Amplifier"
steps up the tempo a bit and begins to push the album into
its more natural direction, redolent with noisy guitars and
indie flavored keyboards; as well as the redundantly silly
lyrics that tend to persist in the indie scene. "Pinned
In Glass" breaks up the tempo a bit, stuttering back
and forth from a driving rhythm to a collapsing Black Sabbath-esque
chorus. I listened to "Queen B" once… and never
again. This woman’s got a fantastic voice; I don’t understand
why she would want to muck it up so badly. Heavy metal leftovers,
I guess. "When She Goes Out" moves the record back
into more listenable boundaries with an early Curve-like vibe.
Doubled up harmony vocals and interesting melody lines sonically
adorn the starkly driving bass and drums, and repetitive head-to-the-wall
guitars. With a slower, almost Codeine tempo, "Torch"
buries the beautiful voice of G. Amber Valentine beneath
anguished layers of sound, mixed dangerously muddy in order
to illustrate the song’s droning poignancy.
"Memphis" lays out some fantastic slowcore techno
keyboard vibes, moving the song into an almost Chemical
Brothers ambience, with its fantastic lo-fi drums and
stark arrangement. The song pulls the listener in with its
catastrophic changes in groove and substance. I will be
ready when it’s time to take advantage, see I give up what
I want to, and the rest belongs to me… begins the more
Detroit rock sound of "Fight Song". But then the
girl goes back to screaming and yelling. Hey… I liked Ministry,
too, baby. Great lyrics, but some bad moments in rock. That
seems to be the album’s subtitle at this point, as "Dissolver"
makes its noisy points, whatever they might be, before slowing
to a nice melancholy pace and resolving the chaos of the song’s
beginnings. "Vulture Story" continues the heavier
mood of the music, but trades away the screeching vocal yells
for the breathy singing style once more. A welcome change
to this very White Stripes sounding, feedback infused
groove. Bongos? I’m a little perplexed by the use of alternate
forms of percussion on a record like this, but I suppose it
all turns out all right in the end. Interesting guitars and
rhythmic devices make "Firefly" an interesting piece
of interesting music. "Lazing" follows up the previous
lo-fi experimentalism with some more jazzy, free form lyrical
expressions over sparser and lighter arrangements. Still just
as… interesting. Tossing aside the fundamentals of physics
class, "Surface Tension" is a slower song, replete
with the excellent drum tones found on the better songs of
the record, and a rambling kind of squeezing-a-lot-of-words-into-a-small-space
lyrical line. The band is very reminiscent of Magnapop at
this point. Pushing an almost Nine Inch Nails sound
from the speakers is "Undertow"; a complex song
filled with counter rhythms and sweeping noise landscapes.
It goes a bit too long (weighing in at about 6:30 minutes)
for its structure, not holding interest in a productive listening
way. Wavy guitars and smashing drums drive the importance
of "Sea Blind" into the listener’s skull with an
alacrity unsurpassed on the album. I would not have saved
this Cakekitchen-like dirge for the end of the record,
but rather thrown it closer to the beginning where it would
be sure to get heard.
Overall the album is a pleasing listen, making me want to
fight a bit at times, so it should be fairly easy for the
punk rock kids to relate to, as well as the more avant-garde-indie-stereotypical-black-turtleneck
type. Amazing that it only took two people to piece together
a debut record of this depth and vitality. Another Curve similarity?
I think so.
And remember, measure time in chemicals; I Name You Destroyer
is an expression of love.
– David DeVoe
- Little Fever
- Pinned In Glass
- Queen B
- When She Goes Out
- Fight Song
- Vulture Story
- Surface Tension
- Sea Blind
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