Shall We Skip To Excessive Celebration?
posted on 1/2007 By:
So apparently this album is supposed to come packaged with a 200-page novel that (presumably) elevates this fifteen-minute package of dissonant, spazzy punk to a truly life-changing piece of art or something, but since I have no access to said novel I can’t comment on its effect on the music. Sorry, dudes.
What I can comment on is Shall We Skip to Excessive Celebration? itself. This album is the full-length debut from LA’s Autonym, who play a rather familiar form of shrieking, angular, slightly electronic hardcore/grind. The Locust, Melt-Banana, Converge, Pg. 99 and Fear Before the March of Flames are all name-checked on the band’s Myspace, which is plenty enough to make it abundantly clear what this band sounds like. Honestly, I think this style of punk/grind/whatever succeeds or fails on its ability to jar and disorient the listener without becoming annoying, and Autonym just don’t have the trick down yet. Vocalist Will Angelos turns in a remarkably flat performance; his half-speech-half-yell is forced and unconvincing, and will likely irritate all but the most noise-inured listeners. The music isn’t so hot either; whether it’s thin, grind-like hardcore (“The Luminary”), Botch-y time signature tinkering (“Visitor”), or the obligatory semi-danceable electronics heavy track (“Battered Wife Syndrome”), these songs almost universally sound like retreads of other like-minded acts. “The Dalits” even features an electronics spasm that mimics those employed by Melt-Banana as nearly as any I’ve ever heard. A thin, fuzzy production and less-than-precise musicianship do little to help, though I don’t doubt that both were largely deliberate.
In short, Autonym sound old and tired in a subgenre where the primary objective is to be fresh and distinctive. Too complacent and redundant to sound angry and too chaotic to be catchy, this band hasn’t yet found their niche and will not have much luck until they pick a more distinctive and specific sound to pursue.
Or maybe I just don’t get it because I haven’t read their novel. Apparently it’s some kind of sci-fi fantasy allegory for the relative effects of fascism and warfare on parallel worlds or something. On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing that I haven’t read it; I’m pretty sure I read that book already anyway. A word of advice to young bands: let your music speak for you, not your lyrics, and definitely not a two-hundred page addendum to your lyrics.
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