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Music Reviews

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Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
A Dead Stinking Story
Level-Plane Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
This is the first hardcore album that I've heard in awhile that starts off with an acoustic guitar intro - I'd say that this a proper beginning for this album, from the start the tone is harsh but solemn, brutal but melodic.

Here's what you should know - Envy are from Japan, their stuff is brought to you by Level-Plane Records, and their drummer lashes out the most destructive and propulsive beats since the Boredoms. Stylistically, they don't have much in common with those guys, but the drumming on this album does similarly capture and convey a really heightened sense of energy - these aren't dead beats... nah, not at all. Rather on many of these songs there's a constrained interaction between instruments that's subtle but really nice. What I'm trying to get at is that to me there isn't a lot of beating and bashing that's superfluous on these recordings, everything is measured and in place, and a sense of chaos controlled comes through. The vocals are what you'd expect - loud shouted lines and phrases rather than much melodic singing (the guitars take care of the minor key plaintiveness); I'd also say that the fact that the singings is so "western" in attack is one of the only downfalls of this album (if you could call it a downfall- cuz if hardcore is indeed global at this point, which it is I guess, then this fact is kinda mute - maybe I should say the singing style isn't the most inventive, but it does fit well).

Two other things that stand out about this band and it's music: first, the recording is top notch - the rhythm section has a real presence, with no loss or blurring of quality when things get really insane - the vocals are always crisp, and you can catch the sizzle and crash of the cymbals at all times, its all really mixed together well. Second, they did a good job of offering Japanese-English translations to all the songs and they did a solid job of putting the art together - it really matches the music somehow.

All in all, this is really traditional hardcore album, new ground isn't broken on this one, but the way they do it isn't insulting or boring or formulaic, somehow Envy manages to add life and energy to the chords and notes they put together, that's what makes this such a tight album.

Now, if only they'd get over here and tour sometime....

Reviewed by James Hoey
A long-time contributing writer for LAS, Jim lives in North Carolina and drives an early 70s model mustard yellow Chevrolet Blazer.

See other reviews by James Hoey



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