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Customer Review

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty dreadful, 22 Feb. 2008
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This review is from: Handwriting (Audio CD)
The only times this album isn't boring are the times when you cringe at the horrendous sounds being used, or the bad playing.

This is an album of dull, uninspired songs overlaid with sections of static and distortion to make it sound superficially original, or at least `modern'. It's paste-on modern, superficial and not musical anyway.

Track two, for example, sounds like a rip-off of The Cure from twenty or more years ago, not very well done. The repeating riff, the intermittent string sounds, and so on. It's all been done before, long ago, and done much better. And the singer sounds like he's at the far end of a cardboard tube, and the guitar strings scrape horribly at regular intervals.

Back in 1982 I made a joke when everyone was first going berserk about samples - sampled tape-hiss. But this guy does it for real. Check out track three. (Or better still, don't bother.) The dull, derivative guitar and pointless, unemotional beats are there again, of course.

There's something else I've heard a lot over the last few years - bad recording being dignified into something supposedly meaningful. I think some people regard that as a significant part of the music, or at least some kind of street-cred thing, a protest against too slick recording techniques from the big record companies. Or something. It's not easy to think into the mindset that actually likes bad recordings. Or maybe some people honestly don't know which sounds are mistakes and which are deliberately overlaid bits of distortion? It sounds like some people leave mistakes in there that more professional musicians would edit out, maybe to add to the effect of the overlaid bits of distortion and hiss that they seem to regard as somehow relevant. It isn't the limited recording equipment this guy had. It's bad, lazy use of recording equipment.

Maybe this is the new application of the Punk mindset - playing up lack of technique. Who knows? But Punk played up lack of technique to highlight commitment and feeling. This music lacks deep feeling, and there really isn't much commitment in bad recording. Or bad playing, as on track eight, where the guitar playing is enough to make you wince. Badly played, strangled notes, mechanical playing - it's all here. Track nine is more of the same. It sounds like someone playing bad guitar while nutting a piece of wood for percussion, and the song sounds like something horrendous from the 1950s.

I don't know - maybe it's some kind of youth protest? If this is the best protest they can manage, though, why bother? It helps if you have something to say, and some feeling in the music, and if the music isn't derived from things other people did decades ago, with bits of distortion and hiss grafted on.
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