There is a certain tug-o-war that may transpire in one's mind when
listening to the second album, Electric Aborigines, by the
psychedelic, garage-punk band Awesome Color. Yet, no matter
how much affinity by way of nostalgia that could make it difficult
to outright hate the type of music the band wants to play, familiarity
with the sub-genre can also make it harder to please an aficionado
of the style. Any fan of this type of niche-genre knows that a band
does not necessarily have to take the genre farther (as this sub-genre
never established its progressive qualities early on). Instead, a
band just has to let the listener know that they like this type of
music in their hearts and are having a blast playing it. As 2008's
fantastic Primary Colors by Eddy Current Suppression Ring
in no way felt transcendent, it knew both what made the genre tick
and the necessary ins and outs that made the music feel natural.
In that regard, this Ann Arbor, Michigan-bred band (Stooges
country, naturally) on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label
seems that their opinion of what makes this youthfully rebellious
music great has more to do with loud noise and cock-rock. So, simply,
do not expect anything in terms of Sonic Youth-esque art-rock
on here, or even genuine MC5/Stooges altar worshipping. Instead,
Awesome Color's music seems to not know much about each of the genres
that it tries to imitate other than its most rudimentary bells-and-whistles.
Guitarist Derek Stanton's voice soars bombastically over a
hodgepodge of loud, distorted sounds. His voice comes both with a
sense of The Cult's Ian Astbury's vocal tone and love
of inane lyrics. That 1980's band is also a good point-comparison
to Awesome Color's sound, as The Cult can feel as if they have an
admirable dedication to their music despite it being disposable trash,
while Awesome Color sounds more like a horrible exercise in excess.
Stanton and company may be quick with their instrument-wielding hands,
but any sense of uniqueness to make the dreck something memorable,
or even fun, is both shoddy and amateur.
Songs like "Already Down" and "Step Up" feel
more like rough sketches of watershed ideas than actual strong conceptions
of anything involving melody, songwriting, or hooks. It's a given
that not all bands of this ilk need to do the first two well (The
Stooges is the most obvious example) but when your band does not have
those qualities, you often need something in the way of strong hooks
in the music and/or lyrics, because if not it'll just sound empty.
Awesome Color even do one worse...everything here is boring, yawn
inducing, and aimless.
Album starter, "Eyes of Light," sounds at first like
its is a good intro to the album, possibly acting like a speed-up
preview of things to come. Then after a few more songs roll by,
the listener realizes instead that it works as an encapsulation
of Awesome Colors one-trick sound: fuzzed-out riffage that simply
does not sound that enjoyable or well structured. When the last
song ("Evil Rose") comes and goes, and it too is quickly
forgotten, it's telling that Awesome Color is music mainly for juveniles,
instead of those of us who are experienced listeners.
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