Thursday, January 15, 2004
THE LOST PATROL
Songs About Running Away
Burning Heart Records
The Lost Patrol’s second release, Songs About Running Away, is not what one would expect from Dennis Lyxzen, a Swedish punk rocker known for songs like “Capitalism Stole My Virginity” from The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Refused.
Like Beck’s Sea Change, Lyxzen is trying to write an album without artifice about the aftermath of a bad breakup. To prove his anguish, Lyxzen imitates the Counting Crow’s Adam Duritz’s style of overly emotional vocalizing on most of the album. On songs like “The Way Things Are,” Lyxzen sounds like he can outdo the Crows at bland, adult contemporary rock, and one of the album’s song titles, “Restating the Obvious,” basically describes what he is doing over and over again in this collection of songs about his broken heart.
But there are some truly inspired moments on Songs About Running Away. On “Left and Leaving Blues,” Lyxzen finally just sings over music that sounds like the Velvet Underground trying to play country. Near the end of “Going Going Gone,” Lyxzen lets a scream fly over Jonas Kullhammar’s saxophone. The best of Songs About Running Away proves that this young punk has not lost his edge yet.
BILLY MARTIN, CALVIN WESTON & DJ LOGIC
For No One In Particular
With the advent of DVD technology, cinema has journeyed from the halcyon Hollywood days of untouchable completeness to the present, where every film can be re-invented and re-realized. Begging the following question upon listening to the latest Amulet Records release: Why not make For No One In Particular the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Unlike Kubrick’s Strauss tone poems, realism pervades Billy Martin, Calvin Weston, and DJ Logic’s triumvirate improvisations. These sounds are the epitome, the definition, of the “empty” that Kubrick captured. The foreign bleeps and cosmic intermittent patters might even be a direct recording of Sun Ra’s cosmic domain.
The album basks in silence. DJ Logic slows down his scratches so gaps can surface between Weston’s hip-hop beats and Martin’s slipshod percussive melange. Talking drums, chimes, muted trumpet, X-files warbles fill in the rest.
Track listings are arbitrary. Melodies are as well. This is as it should be because this trio aims at NASA-inspired pursuits.
With “alternative” rock music finally fading, the new breed is having a harder time being heard, churning out the same ole angst. Like their forefathers, their solution is the same: dig out an ancient style and rev it up one more time.
This group, like Rapture or Interpol, has decided that the exhumation of the New Wave, circa 1979-1982, is fertile territory. Although they aren’t as schticky as those bands, they are in love with that time: the grainy guitars and heavy bass figures, pained vocals, scant production. What they don’t get is that the New Wavers, devoid of the aggression and anthemeering of punk, hooked their tunes up with catchy n’ clever hooks. These guys dispense with that and go for a little emo heaved into the brew, which gives their band its only distinction.
Borrowing from Wire or Gang Of Four—and, to be fair, the Red Hot Chili Peppers—makes sense stylistically, but without much by way of memorable songs, their remaking the past is pointless. Only “Big Brat” would have been up to snuff for those groups—and they’d never have touched its obvious lyric with a barge pole.