I went through a ‘lo-fi’ phase in the mid-late-1990s. I was seduced by the awkwardness and deliberate difficulty of it all.
Not wanting to prejudice those “S” reviews in a couple of years time, those blokes were a little less difficult than this collection from GBV.
I’ve seen GBV referred to as ‘anti-rock’. I presume that refers to their unwillingness to conform with the expectations of record labels, listeners etc.
For example, here we get 28 tracks, most under 2 mins along, most without a chorus-verse structure, many without intros or outros. Most sound like they were recorded underwater (one deliberately so) or from a long, long distance away. Tracks are overdubbed, underdubbed, haphazard and throwaway.
I get the concept – let the music free, don’t conform, don’t overmassage the message. But in the end it just aint very listenable or enjoyable. It’s the musical equivalent of mumblecore – over-rated and self-indulgent.
It’s a real shame. There is a huge amount to like on this album underneath all the grime. These guys lay down some great riffs, grooves and what could/should be choruses. Game of Pricks and Motor Away are very solid (although the latter was improved by the Salteens), and songs about hunting knifes are always fun:
File under: Roadworks are called for…