A horrible hack


Poverty of the Stimulus

Year Released: 2011
Format: Download
Label: self released
Reviewed by Ant Nation on Mar 1, 2012
Okay, if it hasn't been edited to buggery (and rightly so) in one of my other reviews, I mentioned how I think it's best not to have any preconceptions of what you're going to review until you press play. Adding to that, I believe nearly everything has something of merit if you have enough patience and give it time to say what it wants to say. At that point, you can take it from there with your opinion. With that in mind, we come to "Poverty of the Stimulus" by Motherhood. A lo-fi (lo as is so low you'll get carpet burn on your nose), almost art garage rock concoction. The first time I put this on, I didn't get it. I'll fully admit that. I think the exact internal conversation that I had with myself was "What the fuck is this?!" I gave up after 3 tracks and put "Susudio" on instead. I like structure. Okay, I'll dabble in things that are slightly out there in structure and a bit off kilter but even that's almost structured in it's own way at times. Randomness doesn't sit well with me. Unless it's a Mike Patton / "Disco Volante" type of randomness. At times though with this, it feels like everyone's playing a different song to the other person. It reminded me of Uncle Peter / Charlie Chuck's band playing in the jar on the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer but if they were all on valium and trying to be Velvet Underground. Soon after, I picked it up and tried again. Same reaction. Three tracks in. Meh! But the volume of my original opinion was turned down a tad. Okay, not going so well here. Next day, I picked it up again and thought that I would let it go to the end and see what's what when I got there. First three tracks, meh! Got to the 4th track and something clicked. Okay it helped that track 4 (Girlfriend at the Time) reminded me of a stripped down Sonic Youth. Even down to a slight Thurston Moore drawl on the vocals. Cool. Got something from it. Next track. Different type of track than track 4 but not disagreeable in the slightest. And the same for the track after that. And the track after that. I found myself prepping what I thought was going to be a bad review to something that became "Yeah, that was pretty good."

I feel sometimes though that the cheap production, lo-fi ethic can hurt some bands, even when wearing those labels proudly. There's some really good songs here and with a firmer hand in the recording and on the structure, they could have something special. It's far from perfect for me (though I do know people who would eat this up) but there oodles of potential if they choose to go for it. But you get the feeling, stripping away the, at times, arty wank and slight pretentiousness of it all, is not something that interests Motherhood. They like what they do and how they do it. And in this day and age, you've gotta admire that.

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