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The Show Is the Rainbow

Wet Fist

(Retard Disco; US: 17 Mar 2009; UK: 17 Mar 2009)

It’s hard to review the sophomore album from Nebraska’s Darren Keen and not fly off the handle with contrasting comparisons. He’s like the Rapture and Kraftwerk on speed at a degenerate Art Ensemble show, like Bruce Haack being interviewed by Television, or the Talking Heads making an Asthmatic Kitty record with Dan Deacon, sometimes all in the same track. The self-proclaimed Andy Kaufman of the DIY indie-electronic scene develops his material during the rigors of constant touring and the spunk of his visceral performance art spectacle comes through on this record.


Wet Fist isn’t all gold, but, at the very least, all of the tracks here are totally unique and always interesting both musically and lyrically. This is a feat for indie electronic music such as this, since it’s so easy to make everything sound the same (using the same annoying synth patches, song structures, the same trying-too-hard-to-be-cool vocals, etc). Frankly, the guy prolly isn’t quite right in the head, and that works in his favor. While it’s not album of the year material exactly, I could see Darren making that album in the not too distant future. All the tools for a pop culture movement are here in one form or another. He’s so close you can smell the sulfur.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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