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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
08 November 2005
Intense, The Bohemian Pimp Project (Defend Music) Rating: 7
This solo debut from the ex leader of hip hop group Schoolz of Thought finds the Philly-based MC getting off to a rather slow start. Though Intense (not to be confused with the Good Looking drum'n'bass group) talks lot about being a "Bohemian Pimp", you still don't get a good idea of what the hell that is, other than a rapper who likes to smoke pot. But as The Bohemian Pimp Project proceeds, it gains momentum, depth, and strength. Intense's flow is a less authoritative version of Eminem's rapid-fire delivery, but the faster he raps, the better he sounds. The real strength here is the eclectic production, which employs jump blues, disco, and psychedelia without all the "Hey, look at me!" flash that sometimes dogs similarly-minded acts. Intense sounds at home both belting braggadocio like "Like Fire" and getting pensive and atmospheric on "The Truth About Me...". The real gems, though, are his short, sharp swipes at seedy nightlife culture ("Club Drama") and the pharmaceutical industry ("Drugs!!!"). In all, this is one of the year's most enjoyable hip hop surprises.
My American Heart The Meaning in Makeup (WARCON) Rating: 4
With an average age of just 17 years old My American Heart can be forgiven for displaying every clichéd chord and lyric that haunts the current pop/punk underground. When you're young you're an imitator; as you grow up you find a path or sound that you can make yours. My American Heart is an excellent imitator right now. From the pleading vocal delivery to the fat drop D chords, My American Heart is a perfect soundtrack to the extreme lifestyle that WARCON Entertainment is trying to market. The CD comes packaged with a free bonus DVD that includes audio tracks, music videos, video game demos, movie trailers, and extreme lifestyle clips. The band's earnest screamo style is just another tool into the minds and pocketbooks of America's disaffected (or so they're told) youth. The fairly mundane and highly derivative sound of My American Heart is clearly just another tool in the continuing co-opt of a sound that is already completely oversaturated. The boys in My American Heart have chops and talent, with a little luck and a few years seasoning they might discover a sound that sets them apart from the two thousand other bands currently trying to make the exact same noise that they are.
Goon Moon I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine (Suicide Squeeze) Rating: 3
Say you're Twiggy Ramirez, and say you have some time off from hanging out with Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor. What do you do? Well, it appears that you hook up with Zach Hill from Hella and Chris Goss from Masters of Reality and write an album. The resulting 10 tracks defy all expectations of what you might think a project with members of the aforementioned bands would sound like. Neither glammy nor fraught with head twisting time signatures, Goon Moon is instead an open-ended freakshow of extremely brief experimental passages. Largely instrumental, the disc veers from idea to idea without hesitation and unfortunately without exploration. With most of the tracks coming in well under four minutes and a couple under one minute, the whole "album" (or mini-album as Suicide Squeeze is marketing it) is done in about 25 minutes. Except for the final two tracks "No Umbrella" and "Apartment 31", that take on a Queens of the Stone Age like vibe, I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine are a bunch of throwaway, demo-like tracks that severely disappoint. Even diehard fans would be advised to stay away.
Lies, Hate (Sick Music) Rating: 5
Brantford, Ontario band Lies is a quartet out to prove they can produce music that is sick, sick being heavy, new-nu metal that is also rather good for these newcomers. "This World" has a haunting, eerie underlying spoken vocal as lead singer Travis Bain sings about another day filled with bull manure. However, the bottom falls out of "Secret" which is about as menacing as a corked Nerf football. Bain has had a painful history and almost died in his youth. And sometimes it makes for good song fodder. However, when the band keeps it simple by jacking up the amps, as they do on "You Could Be Mine" (not an Axl and company cover), it's better than anticipated despite they recant their drug ingestion histories. It gets stale though roughly halfway through, with the quasi shrieks and wails of "Bleed" paired off with some rudimentary indie rock arrangements. The urgency and intensity captured during "The One" is great, but a bit too late.
.: posted by Editor 6:11 AM