From the outset, everything about Caviar screams potential. The sexy design of the album liner notes. The indulgence that oozes from a band named like “Caviar.” The cool cuties donning the cover and inserts. Song titles like “Automatic Yawns,” and “I Am the Monument.” Even the first minute or so of the first song, “Ok Nightmare”: beauteous, Beck-esque rock ‘n’ roll funk. But then, the chorus—cheesy, whiny, too heavy on the guitars, to light on the innovation. Okay. I can forgive a good band for a bad chorus. Once.
Then, it’s like I’ve been evilly, horribly deceived. Suddenly, I’m listening to the mutant lovechild of Weezer and Local H. On crack. Is this a joke? Maybe it’s postmodern bricolage—the pinnacle of visual art-wank artifice, juxtaposed with frat-worthy power chords and faux musical sensibility, to the result of an ironic contradiction that forces the listener to re-evaluate… wait, I can’t even say that in jest. I just don’t get it. For your reading pleasure, I now present you with a smattering of lyrics:
“She is a rich bitch / She call me macho man / She speak in tiny words/ But I don’t understand.”—“Goldmine”
“She’s as American as 3.1416.”—“The Good Times Are Over”
If you got something out of that that I didn’t, stop reading now. You’re obviously someplace I’m not.
Once again, I’m convinced that the American milieu of rock music has never heard the phrase, “trying too hard.” Blake Smith’s overbearing lyrics and muddled crooning are just a little less compelling than when your five-year-old cousin performs at a family reunion. The songs are gimmicky and beside the point. I wish someone had told them that a fundamental part of being experimental starts with being creative, a department where they clearly are lacking. As a result of too much, too soon, the album sounds like the soundtrack to a novelty store, or an early Jim Carrey movie.
I wish Caviar the best success which this album can muster—a single, maybe two, followed by swift and painless vanishing. Thank god, because I wouldn’t want to live in the country where this band could enjoy a long and luxurious musical career. And one last word of advice: Don’t call yourself Caviar when all you’re serving up is Chicken of the Sea.