A horrible hack


Things To Do When You Should Be Dead Anyway

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: Magic Bullet
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
Sometimes mere disappointment can be worse than out-and-out disgust, especially when you have high hopes riding on something really fucking kicking your stall in, like I did for this thing. Released on a pretty good label riding the crest of an artistic wave (though all I have got from them recently is a Frodus reissue), with Mike from (latter-day) Burning Airlines locking down the bass duties, you’d expect nothing short of a belting rock-solid hardcore record. Couple this with rumours that it’s not entirely unlike Old Man Gloom at times, and you have one excited reviewer!

But, no. Incredibly, it’s all rather pedestrian, empty and clumsy. When the first song proper (after one of a number mithering “improvised” instrumentals – perhaps a little more time and effort would have rendered these into proper tracks as opposed to mere aural padding) lurches in, the riff ain’t bad, but the thing is, why save the awesome bits for later on? Snag me now, keep me forever. If Forensics hadn’t already reduced my hard-on enough, they inflict some nasty hair-metal guitar-weedling (which makes a number of appearances over the course of the album) that truly flaccidate me. So far, so nothing.

It gets seriously good at times. “Circling Bloody Animal Tracks” has a nicely epic apocalyptic feel in the early section, but succumbs to distinctly unsurprising three-four timing with very unwise sung vocals. “Boat Day At The Marina” kicks off with a righteous tempo and contains a pleasing Isis-style quieter section. There’s a great track that the band admits is influenced by the epic Old Man Gloom track “Zozobra”. Perhaps I should be winging the kudos OMG’s way for that one.

The thing with this is that it is all rather meaningless. It shouldn’t just be shouting and volume. Get back to the roots of what made this music great. Where’s the magic? Where’s the genuine gut-wrenching emotion? Where are the goddamned tunes?!?? The title of the album (itself a reference to a forgettable Tarantino-ripoff movie) may clue you in to the throwaway nature of the lyrics. A particular lyric is highlighted on the artwork - “If we were raised as vultures, I’d torch my wings to light up the sky.” Yeah, all very poetic, but what does any of it mean? Maybe I’m lazy, unwilling to engage myself in deep analytical thought, but I can’t help but feel this is just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing, and it doesn’t work well enough on a purely musical level to count as pure rocking fun. Also calling an instrumental song “How’s The View From Sugar Heaven, Bitch?”, whilst including a disclaimer that’s it not meant to be sexist (it’s from a hilarious movie apparently), seems at once sexist AND wussily politically correct. Maybe this is irony – I have no idea since the song’s instrumental! Whatever.

I like the cover though!

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