Tuesday, 30 December 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: Blackmarket - The Elephant In The Room

Let’s get this out before laser strikes disc: I already dislike Blackmarket. But please don’t assume this is a deep-seated vendetta against an up-coming band, oh no, my disdain’s evolved from a much more honourable predisposition: I can’t stand mainstream chasing Emo ‘Rawk’. In fact, I hate it. From the VapoRub snubbing nasal wails to the vapid chug-chug-chug of guitar, every element of this chart-humping genre sears into me like a ravenous electro-current intent on lobotomising my chin-stroking spirit.

Harsh? I doubt it.

See, if the prospect of enduring Fall Out Boy, Bullet for My Valentine or Plain White Ts for any prolonged period of time doesn’t tauten your neck hairs with a conflate of anxiety and revulsion I’ll, well, I’ll just not believe you. Because it’s impossible to truly enjoy these bands; impossible to etch even a modicum of empathy for their overly preened, baseball cap wearing, Ashley Simpson-wooing Rock-Pop jizz; impossible to feel anything but vehement opposition to a sound that clogs up the airwaves like a Big Mac does arteries. I don’t care how many pseudo goth-kids wail about its meaning, the music’s just just shite. End of.

With rant firmly over, it’s time to get on with the review. So, let the disc spin and the laser burn…

Crass, thrusting and absolutely abhorrent; The Arizona trio’s debut LP The Elephant In The Room stitches together a patchwork of insipidly contrived teeny-Rock that constitutes the very fabric of this scribe’s aural chagrin. The shuddering crossfire of guitar that strikes a light under opening number ‘Magic Tricks’ shoots down any hope of resuscitating my already flagging affections as it shamelessly flaunts a grating dog-whine of a chorus that masquerades like an eyeliner-clad Plug In Baby. Which it’s not. Not even close.

In all honesty, to describe these twelve tracks as silence filling tripe would do a considerable injustice to the blissful sound of absolutely nothing. A prime example of this creative abyss is the laboriously entitled ‘Alibi Can’t Give Me A Place To Go’: a bloated spectrum of drum and riff that becomes so nauseating it could only be enjoyed through the rose-tinted hearing aid of a deaf grandmother.

Left reeling by such a plague of slapstick cranking, ‘Sheila’’s roundhouse blow of excruciating lyrics [ 'Sheila, you look good today'] and ‘Sooner Or Later’’s grunge-sponging uppercut knocks this limp record face first into the canvas, gasping for the air that will give it a bit of life for one final fight. Sadly it doesn’t come but, mercilessly, neither does a swift KO.

Instead, the band Pritt Stick to the belief that rampant, uncoordinated drums and shrieking guitars are somehow a rite of passage to commercial appeal and blindly proceed with the loathsome clutter of instrumentation found pulsing through ‘Permanent You’ and the equally epileptic ‘Drag Addict’. Even ‘White Lie’’s promise of slow-creeping acoustica becomes not so much a pitchfork in the road but a hedge-hiding piss break on the long and dreary highway to MOR Punk-Pop hell.

A sheenful glaze of production at least attempts - and almost succeeds - at washing away the woefully inept song writing but, so linear are the monotonous ‘Ctrl Atl Dtl’ and ‘Out Of Order’, you’d need Phil Spector, a rifle and a shit-ton of microdots to make this record sound halfway entertaining. And, really, that’s my main gripe with the entire septic tank of a genre: There’s no challenge or enjoyment in listening to such sterilised endeavours. There’s just nothing, at all.