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Pigface: Easy Listening

Ryan Potts


Easy Listening

Label: Invisible
US Release Date: 2003-01-28
UK Release Date: 2003-03-10

The Clash. Nine Inch Nails. Gravity Kills. Sister Machine Gun. Bile. Moby. Revolting Cocks. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Meg Lee Chin. Hate Dept. Public Image Limited. The Killing Joke. Damage Manual. Godhead. Rollins Band. Tweaker. Tool. Nitzer Ebb. Dope. Chemlab. The Jesus Lizard. KMFDM. Kittie. Skinny Puppy.

No, this isn't a run down of the past two decades of rock, but the alums of industrial-rock's most prolific revolving door project: known as Pigface. Although originally conceived as the brainchild of ex-Public Image Limited/Ministry/Killing Joke member Martin Atkins, the idea soon snowballed into a bile portal for industrialites to exercise their muses and test their sonic experiments. But despite the name-dropping nature of such a high status collective, how does the music match up to the checklist of artistic prerequisites?

In short, poor. Easy Listening, Pigface's most recent amalgam of mixed musical results, suffers from the usual hindrance that super-groups attempt mask: a mashed sonic assault that's disorganized, masturbatory, and unfocused. Basically, the painfully obvious irony of the album's title, Easy Listening, borrows musical ideas not worthy to commit to tape for the members' primary projects.

And the results are split-ended, half-assed, boring, predictable, and uninspired. The lowlights of this album include: the industrial idiots in Dope doing their best to mimic Nine Inch Nail's Broken on "Bitch"; the moronic lyrics that litter "Mind Your Own Business" ("Can I have a taste of your ice cream / Can I lick the crumbs from your table"); and an extremely trite insight into the apocalypse on "Binary Stream" that borrows from every Orwellian wannabe known to man. However, it's not that Easy Listening is particularly terrible (though it is malignantly poor), but that Pigface seems to try so hard to do nothing but give evidence as to why you should listen to the great bands creating this industrial pedigree -- Public Image Limited, the Clash, the Killing Joke -- instead of wasting your time on this jaded musical collective.

"Fuck the mainstream / Fuck the norm / Fuck conformity" somehow seems to encapsulate the record perfectly. The "fuck statements" on Easy Listening's final track, "The Horse You Rode in On," are so horrifically trite, so blindingly cliché and so obviously banal that the only thing to save this record from appearing as a mere perpetuation of the trends they so clearly seem to hate is the music -- but the music also fails horribly as a victim of the stagnant stereotypes of industrial music. And that's something using the word "fuck" 72 times in one song can't cover up.

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