CD Review: American Watercolor Movement; The Shanks, Brimstone Howl tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 1:31 pm January 9, 2007

Intern Brendan Greene-Walsh is back with more CD reviews. I’ll be posting them, along with my counterpoint, over the next couple of weeks. Here’s one now:

American Watercolor Movement, It Takes Fifteen to Tango in My Book, What Book Do You Read? (self-released) — A strong beat keeps a song moving, pulsating and gyrating. But a strong beat can only carry you so far. A song (an album, more so) needs substance. It needs layers. It needs to be interesting. There must be something that can captivate the attention of the listener. This album fell flat. The “layers” turned to mud in the mix. The focus of the songs became lost. The addition of vocals that switched between singing and spoken word were a mystery. I had no idea what the goal of this album was. If it was techno beats with weirdness surrounding it, then success is theirs. Unfortunately, I cannot allow myself to believe that that was their aim. Rating: No. — Brendan Greene-Walsh

Tim Sez: Clearly an homage to Eno, these guys also throw in a little Prodigy and PiL to their brand of electronic proto-punk dance music. The CD’s experience is summed up on the opening tracks. The title, when frontman Jason Cieradowski does an earnest speak-talk shtick, is pure PiL Johnny Rotten. When he actually sings, like on “Flowers for Catalan,” he sounds like Peter Gabriel backed by guitars and rhythms lifted off early Gabriel records. Sound good? Then you might really dig this disc, and in fact, I liked it enough to recommend it even with its considerable drawbacks — a little of Cieradowski’s whimpering goes a long way and becomes tedious as early as the fourth track. And then there’s the muddy mix. Still, interesting programming and smart dance rhythms derived from Eno make it worth a spin. Rating: Yes.

Will Brendan and I ever agree on anything? Keep watching and find out.

Tonight at O’Leaver’s, a marquee punk show featuring The Shanks, Brimstone Howl and Boston Chinks. I’m listening to The Shanks’ 7-inch Boom Chick single as I type this. It’s as blown-out as the new Terminals CD (almost). Dirty, strutting garage punk that’s not afraid to be ugly and often is, The Shanks are one of the more pleasant surprises of ’06. Memphis band Boston Chinks grind out growling punk with a pout that can explode at any moment. I suspect this will be packed. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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