A horrible hack

The Scarecrow Frequency

Monarch Atlantic

Year Released: 2010
Format: Tape
Label: The Static Cult
 
Reviewed by Oli Saunders on Nov 24, 2010
I told myself that I wouldn't review this tape since I only wrote some words on the band's recent release 'Fire Island' a couple of weeks back. It's a free download. Did you check it out after the way I raved about it? You should have. In any case, I changed my mind about reviewing this since it's gone and got even better. John Argetsinger clearly spends a lot of his time locked away in this room experimenting with bleak as fuck music, but I for one am very thankful that he does.

The lo-fi feel of this record absolutely kills me. Maybe it's my tape deck adding to the already intended low quality production, but it sounds amazing. From the beginning of the first song I am drawn in and mesmerised by the beauty of the instruments and John's quiet vocals in the background - partly sung, partly wailed at times. There's a Guided By Voices take to proceedings, with songs suddenly cutting off when you think they are just getting going. Maybe bands do this when they don't know how to finish a song or maybe they are just satisfied with different experimentations and feel no need to play it out uneccessairily. Who said songs need a lot of structure anyway?

Fourteen songs in all, fifty three minutes. There are so many highlights, from the repetitive piano intro on the first track F-100', with John's half spoken half sung words arising indecipherably for a few minutes before disappearing, to the track 'The CIA Is Still Cagey After All Of These Years', where he sounds a little like the singer from modest Mouse except he starts shouting. The tape comes in a nicely crafted cardboard case, held together by a wax seal which I have not yet worked out how to open. Overall, I am absolutely blown away by this record. It's up there with Duster. There, I said it.

24th November 2010
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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