Something Awful EP
Released: 4.18.15 (physical); 5.18.15 (digital)
Building off the mutant swing and playful math-harmonic of the title track, "Something Sweet" brings some Wire-stride with sections of guitar generated shriek. Vocally, the track resembles some strange pairing of Michael Crawford and Scott Walker, theatrical off-rhythm declarations of "I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF YOUR SWEETNESS!!!" that almost crosses into spoken word. Spoken vocals, though, do occupy "Something Tragic," which marries Suicide-era Alan Vega with the machined experimentalism of Wolf Eyes, quivering static and sporadic blasts of droid at times being graced by synthesized pseudo-melodies.
The closing track, "Something Cheap," instructs generations of parents to raise its progeny to be better than they are, remarking for its final minute, "Only today do we die fools... Only today do we die... incomplete... incomplete... incomplete...". It's a rather morose, but compelling, finale.
The Onanist is a well-sequenced four-track EP whose aspirations and emotive sensibilities cultivate a high standard of song arrangement and melody. It's got some sophistication and you hear this immediately with the opener, "In the Court of the Corn-Eyed King," ignoring the obvious homage/joke built into its title. Changes are injected throughout, a musical flexibility working around the band's otherwise penchant for melody. It works well.
There's texture to "Happy Birthday Alex Tucker," an eerie blanket of prickly notes added to what begins as a rather somber number. The song's second act takes the track's speed up and livens its emotional push.
The most involved track on the EP, "Bride's Maid — The Onanist," is introduced by an ominous bass riff, which becomes a basic theme revisited at various points during the track's nearly eight-minute running time. Sections of slowed stomp emerge, along with vocals about three-quarters of the way through the song. By then, there's almost enough of a story instrumentally that words seem pointless, but the cut remains the EP's strongest inclusion and ably sets up the syncopated ascending loop that introduces "Dog Shredder," one last charge before the album calls it quits.
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