Icily dull hardcore screamo metal that has been Pro-Tooled within an inch of it's life. Daring and scary and brutalizing and eardrum bleeding? In its dreams.
Some Girls is a super-hardcore punk band from San Diego. Their stated intent (I am quoting from the press materials here), is to "punish, and I mean seriously punish people." The idea is to create something that is "both brutal and innovative."
Here is the band's drummer, Sal Gallegos: "Basically, we wanted to brutalize people and have each song punch people in the face and not let up until they were choking on their own blood.... Just putting listeners' open ears on the curb and stomping on their heads."
Here are some selected track names from Some Girls' first "full-length" (25 minutes, but -- trust me -- it's plenty) on Epitaph, Heaven's Pregnant Teens:
"Skull's Old Girlfriends"
There is also a strange sense of humor at work in the song titles, however: "Warm Milk", "Ex Nuns/Dead Dogs", "Retard and Feathered".
The sonic assault is, indeed, unrelenting. The band is musically choreographed within an inch of its life -- with each hammered power chord in perfect synchronization with a cymbal bash and bass note. Each track batters away at you with the precision of a robot intent on driving a rivet into your skull. (I don't know about you, but my skull's old girlfriends can't stand it when my skull is full of metal rivets.) The perfection of hardcore arrangement brings prog-rockers like Yes to mind before it reminds you of The Sex Pistols. This is not a flailing "punk" band as that term was understood in the late '70s. It's more like these guys are professional -- no, mercenary -- hardcore maniacs. They pummel with vicious intensity that seems to have been cooked up in a corporate board room. "Hey, let's create a Cali hardcore super-group of headbanging madmen! John, can you write the press release that attests to the band's interest in bloodying their listeners' ears? Great!" This is the neat-and-cleanest vicious hardcore this side of a Starbucks.
If Iggy or the MC5 could have heard this driving noise-rock back in the '60s, they probably would have denounced it. Not as unlistenable noise but as totally fake rebellion -- the kind of over-planned outrage that smacks of no outrage at all. The guitar patterns repeat with Pro Tools-like precision, and the skillfully handled drums are compressed within an inch of their battered life. I mean, the tune may be called "Deathface", but the drums will sound good on your car radio, endlessly looping beneath the screams to become the plastic soundtrack for your mosh-pit masturbatory fantasies. Wllaaaaahhhhhhh!
The disc runs its tunes together like a hardcare suite, with 99 tiny tracks making up 13 songs over 25 minutes. But the songs may contain seemingly unrelated and contrasting sections, then other songs beginning without sounding much different than the prior song. It seems to be a conscious strategy -- creating a single, long block of screamo-headbanging intensity. A hardcore scalpel: slice-slice-slice-slice-slice-slice-slice-slice-ice-ice-ice-iceiceiceiceice! Brrrrr.
And: yawn. Mostly. The best thing on the disc is Some Girls remake of the Public Image, Ltd. tune "Religion". With distinctive guitar patterns and a compelling "chorus of sorts, "Religion II" generates a sense of song structure and climax. The parts of the some grow out of each other some. But then, quick-as-a-bunny, it's back to "Skull's Old Girlfriends" and on and on, with the contrasts being little more than proof that these guys can play really fast and can negotiate tempo changes like LA studio musicians on a Kenny G date. Yeah, there's screaming and distortion, but -- so what? Captain Beefheart was so much badder than this it's ridiculous, and on an alto sax at that.
OK, guys, if it will make you feel better I'll tell you that, sure, you stomped all over my eardrum. Ouch. I have been brutalized, and I'm choking on my own blood. Cool? Now let's towel off and I meet you for a game of squash.