One of the many problems with listening to a lot of Industrial is wondering what on earth to write about each CD. Is it worth mentioning, for instance, that one member of the band is pictured on the inner sleeve wearing leather trousers in a devil-may-care and franky Thin Lizzy manner? Probably not. The other problems are the risk of noise induced hearing loss, narcolepsy, or a spell in gaol for belabouring a band with a cricket bat for writing tedious songs about, well, just for writing tedious songs really.
Continuing the cricket metaphor (look, it's either cricket or I just hit the keyboard at random with a mobile phone out of boredom), Jailbird start out on a bit of a sticky wicket with tracks named N.W.O., Majestic Sacrifice and Delerium Tremens. I'm not advocating names like Albert and Podge Go to the Zoo or The Wurlitzer Land Speed Record because that would likely lead to a false sense of optimism on the part of the reviewer and confusion in the buying public. I mean, the fact that said titles give me a feeling of impending doom is neither here nor there. (Well it is a bit, but people probably read these things to watch me suffer. I'll bet there are a few waiting for me to crack and run amok with a chainsaw at some goth/industrial festival...) What's important is that the putative purchaser can pick up the CD, read of songs called Go Insane and Last Pray and think to themselves, "Hurrah! Chunky guitars, metronomic and crashing drums, pulsing synths and shouted lyrics about being alienated in a society of machines!" And they'd be entirely correct.
Though Go Insane has a wedge of Hammond organ hammered into it like someone folded up a Doors track and used it to prop up some wobbly lyrics, and now the Doorsness has leaked enough to mean that there's a spoken bit just like The End. It's a bit like encountering a Frankenstein's Monster at the bus stop, waiting for a 43 into town.
The following track begins with industrious sawing and hammering. They're either still knocking together the framework for the song out of 2x4 and MDF, or they've got the builders in to construct a new conservatory. It's hard to tell.
Such are the escapist flights of fancy I'm driven to when listening to these things. I mean, we all know what Industrial records sound like now, so there's no point banging on about it in any great detail. It's a lot less work to say, "This has a noise that goes 'scree' and reminds me of biscuits."
Nothing about this CD reminds me of biscuits. Though if I take the cyclepath into the centre of town it goes round the back of a chocolate factory. And a disused goods yard, a random police station and a couple of abandoned pubs, come to think of it.
Hello, this track's playing at the wrong speed. Is that possible on a CD player? Oh, my mistake. It's a slow one with string arpeggios and drums that go 'doosh'.
I am now reminded of biscuits and Thin Lizzy. With all this modern mastery of sequencers and synths hiding inside computers like strange badgers, why hasn't someone come up with a riff that equals the splendidness of the guitar line in The Boys are Back in Town? Lifting the chord sequence from Anarchy in the UK doesn't really count, enterprising and postmodern though it may be.
Oh, whatever. Buy this if you like that sort of thing. This week I have been listening to LFO's splendid Sheath, Boards of Canada and the two-CD set that is Raymond Scott's quite startling Manhattan Research. Which ought to give you a vague idea about which way I'm wired.
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