Volume 92, Issue 10
Friday, September 18, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Radio raves while deadman dies
CLOSED CAPTION RADIO
Slang X Generator
Brickyard Music Group
With their latest album, Slang X Generator, Vancouver-based punksters Closed Caption Radio have delivered a solid compilation of angry, hard-driving, high-volume punk rock.
On the disc's foreboding first track, "Congruency Test," the startlingly harsh and distorted guitars create a haunting, intensifying rhythm reminiscent of the theme song to the movie Jaws. Indeed, the band must have smelled blood in their musical waters, as they then throw themselves into a manic, eight-track feeding frenzy of violent guitars and screamed lyrics.
That's not to say that Slang X Generator is completely without subtlety. A few songs such as "Last on the List" and "Whoa Magellan" feature some clever vocal variations. Nearly every track benefits from a few interesting instrumental twists that provide needed breaks from Closed Caption Radio's grinding guitar-driven assaults.
Lyrically, this disc fails to satisfy. First of all, listeners will probably find themselves wishing that Slang X Generator really was close captioned since the words are often difficult to comprehend over the frenetic instrumentals. Even when the lyrics are intelligible, the words are mostly uninspiring. One gets the distinct sense that Closed Caption Radio is raging against something sinister, while its identity is never to be revealed.
Poor lyrical merit notwithstanding, Slang X Generator does contain good, hard punk rock that's worth a spin.
Dead Man on Campus Soundtrack
The Dead Man on Campus Soundtrack, simply put, is nothing but a waste of time. It features Marilyn Manson who for some reason is aspiring for glam, Blur singing their most annoying song yet and a plethora of poor remixes by guest DJs.
This album tries to cover all the bases of what's cool in today's music environment, bringing a bunch of electronica-esque bands together in a weak attempt to create something "hip." The Dust Brothers play a fairly large role in this album, not only being the executive music producers, but they have their song "Realize" (which happens to be remixed by the Chemical Brothers) on here as well. "Realize" is probably one of the more enjoyable tracks on the album, with its mantra verse of "Brothers got to open their eye / brothers got to open your eyes."
The album also tries to get some indie credibility by including bands like Jonathan Fire Eater, who performs "When The Curtain Calls for You," as well as Powerman 5000's "Organizized." As mentioned earlier, Marilyn Manson comes out of the closet in his most terrifying incarnation yet glam. His song "Golden Years," is not your typical Manson effort, with a surprisingly interesting groove. It's hard to say which version of this band is better.
The most bizarre song is a cover of "I Only Want to Be With You," performed by Twiggy & Twiggy (one Twiggy being Twiggy Ramirez of Marilyn Manson fame). This song loses most of its bubble gum pop sound with the addition of drum loops, distorted guitars and feedback. Still, few pieces on the album seem distinct or finished.
As a whole, the songs do not converse with each other in any effective manner and the listener is left at the table, hungry, with an empty plate.
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