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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Sinister Quarter
Pink Guillotine
Exotic Fever Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 14, 2000
The thought of taking a familiar idea or concept and then adding a unique spin really appeals to me. To be able to approach a notion already recognized as a staple of what is orthodox and then adding new elements to improve on it is what we as humans strive to do to make our world a more advantageous place. We have seen it in ever facet of society. I can't think of too many bands or musicians who don't borrow from the familiar for their own creations, and that's exactly what The Sinister Quarter has done.

Borrowing from the post-hard core sound of At The Drive-In and Fugazi, The Sinister Quarter have infused elements of metal, indie rock, and emo to create a more individual sound. Things do get borderline pretentious and, in intervals, a little conventional, but with the release of Pink Guillotine The Sinister Quarter have crafted an album within which there is more than one saving grace.

Let's start with Eric Shelley's lyrics. Rarely do you come upon such brilliant and obscure references in a song. The listener is taken to far off places and through numerous adventures often written in poetic artistry and occasional prose. "Knights of Errant" starts of with one of the oddest intros - an off kilter drum beat that abruptly ends as hand claps enter only for the drums pick up and end again, in which Shelly moans "Hoa". It's not too far off from what you would expect from a Modest Mouse tune. He sings in a shaky nervous bellow "A growling monster staring at the shadows on the cave wall/ named each silhouette/ fuck I love them all". A strange start into an unknown venture.

"If I'd Been a Sailor" uses the same perilous and poetic look into the life of an able-bodied seaman. "If I'd been a sailor/ thirsty for shore leave/ drunk and singing at the moon/ desperate for reprieve." Storyboard lyrics shouted against a backdrop of aggressive guitars shredding any right-minded body into a combative demeanor.

A familiar melody is easily spotted in "The Draw Bridge Scene". The Sinister Quarter has taken their original piece and constructed it around Suzanne Vega's 1987 hit "Thom's Dinner". Oddly displaced in the center of the song, the structure is almost falling apart but regains momentum after the borrowed lyrics lay against fluent rhythm, supporting the bands intention to pay homage to a true classic.

There is just enough imagination separating The Sinister Quarter from its predecessors, but they walk close to what is a fine line. At times Shelly's vocal manners sound identical to Cedric Bixler, circa his At The Drive-In days. The similarity is note worthy point I can't help but acknowledge, but this is a minor distraction considering the magnitude of this album. A solid body of work full of compelling lyrics and powerful music, Pink Guillotine is as tight as it is commanding.

Reviewed by Mark Taylor
A senior LAS staff writer, Mark Taylor is a 29 year old father of a 5 year old son and husband to a wife of 6 years, living the simple life in a small suburb of Charlotte, NC.

See other reviews by Mark Taylor

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