The Blood Brothers
by Mark Hensch
Five Star: A look at albums
that are so good that they impress even the most cynical of critics. Very
few albums are superior enough to obtain a five star rating but occasionally
a band slips through the river of mediocrity that is the modern music industry
and they produce an album that restores our faith in the future of rock!
This series is a look at such albums.
What do you get when you cross post-modern
poetic prose that borders on genius, wicked strange guitar effects, and
vocals that sound like a slew of little girls being brutally murdered all
at the same time, influenced by a world that is going increasingly mad?
The answer should be increasingly clear
with the October 12th release of Seattle's own Blood Brothers album numero
four, AKA the simply named Crimes. After last year's major-label
debut on ARTISTdirect with Burn Piano Island, Burn, many foolish
naysayers said a band this insanely strange couldn't keep defying
expectations after several albums, ranging from This Adultery is Ripe
to March on Electric Children and rarities album Rumours Laid Waste.
Burn is quite simply, at least in my opinionated mind, the MOST dangerous
album to hit the punk/emo/hardcore genre in a decade or more, and maybe
every genre in general. Though all of the previous Blood Brothers CDs have
been expectation defying pleasures for long-time fans such as myself, Burn
gave the world a downright shot of PCP in the arm; it's horribly surreal
lyrics must give censors nightmares, it's album art probably frightens
most children, and it's quite simply "a pack of half-starved schizophrenic
jaguars getting high on really bad acid and indirectly tearing modern society
to shreds" to quote myself.
So after an album like that, I was honestly
skeptical of what Crimes would bring. And to my utter delight, this
CD is yet another example of what true punk sounds like. These guys are
so damn punk they even want to alienate me, a loyal fan. They have toned
down the near-constant chorus of jaguar yelps and alternated them with
cynical, dark, and downright creepy pop music. This CD is every bit as
mind-blowing (lyrically and musically) as any other previous work, but
it is also strangely lighter. Many might attribute this to the band signing
over to V2 records and "selling out," but any turncoat who says this would
quickly change the tune upon hearing the complete and utter anarchy this
album brings to our ears.
"Feed me to the Forest" grinds in with
spooky, mechanical scratching notes and riffs that sound like a Bauhaus
seance, though vaguely. Frontman Jordan Blillie lays down his mind-blowing
lyrics, before a lightning quick chorus, jaguar yells, and random piano
keys. "Trash flavored trash" is the best Blood Brothers scream along to
date. It's sick chorus of "Come On! Come On!" before Blillie declares "I've
done my division; trash into trash equals trash flavored trash!" is totally
"Love Rhymes with Hideous Car Accident"
is the most sadistic pop song I have ever heard. Probably because
it's Blood Brothers Pop. Throwing together sinister chords, several of
the band's classic time signature stylings, a mocking chorus, and verses
comparing boys to cars that can be "traded in for better models," The Blood
Brothers challenge what punk should sound like.
"Peacock Skeleton with Crooked Feathers"
is a strange jazzy tune with weird guitar pieces, breakdowns, and totally
(as of right now) undecipherable lyrical meanings. "Teen Heat" is a smart-bomb
of a song that has Blillie declaring he'll tell us "About the First Passion
of the Apocalypse" before busting into start stop sing alongs laden with
random experimentation and screaming. "Rats and Rats and Rats for Candy"
is a funk tune that switches between heavy periods of bombast to quiet
little pieces of rock and grotesque imagery (though this is true of all
"Crimes" is a punk ballad that might take
a few listens to truly appreciate, but is well worth it when you do.
"My First Kiss at the Public Execution"
is every bit as taunting, sinister, and wicked as the title suggests. It
will change your pre-conceived concepts of how people can relate to love
"Live fit the Apocalypse Cabaret" is a
highlight that rambles with crazy pseudo-jazz riffs and piano. "Beautiful
Horses" is more old-school Blood Brothers and another great track.
"Wolf Party" swirls in with void soundscapes
and start-stop drum beats before metamorphing into a start-stop rant before
our astonished ears.
"Celebrator" is a bouncy little jaunt closed
by the blood shaking "Destroyer."
After their previous endeavors, I didn't
expect the amazing album known as Crimes. It is a work of noisy
non-conformist art, and one that will scare any and all pretenders throwing
out their factory made pop-punk crap bands as legitimate and talented.
To quote the "Artist of the Month" review of Burn Piano Island, Burn
written by antiMUSIC editor Keavin Wiggins in the middle of last year:
"These guys are the real deal; not the pop-punk poster boys shamelessly
being hung by your little sister in her room." Truer words have never been
spoken, and the only crime is that a band as talented as this will probably
be forgotten in musical lore simply because they do things much differently
then their more main-stream competitors. Regardless, this album is a stunning
CD that must be thought deeply over to be truly understood.
Brothers - Crimes
1. Feed me to the Forest
2. Trash flavored trash
3. Love rhymes with hideous car wreck
4. Peacock skeleton with crooked feathers
5. Teen Heat
6. Rats and Rats and Rats for Candy
8. My First Kiss at the Public Execution
9. Live Fit the Apocalypse Cabaret
10. Beautiful Horses
11. Wolf Party
the band's homepage to learn more
this CD online
out of the Artist of the Month special for Burn Piano Island, Burn
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