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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Crane Wars

Rating: 6.9/10 ?

October 1, 2004
I write a review, save it, and then write a review of another album and over-write the previous review on accident. It is something that happens to me quite often and it is something that just happened a few minutes ago. "Poor Beans", I initially thought to myself, but now it seems it may have been a blessing in disguise for the Canadians. In hindsight I might have been a little harsh in that first review and now, frankly, I don't have the energy. So I'm going to make it simple.

Basically, Crane Wars is, musically, a mirror of its artwork. In fact, it is possible that the the packaging was meant as a metaphor for the music. Where the artwork is composed of contrasting images butted together with no transition or definite boundary, so too are songs comprised of disparaging notes that never really find a comfortable modulation. Just as a grainy image of a refuse truck and driver are delimitated with a random rain forest photograph and just as the track titles are muddled in with the artwork (making them mostly illegible), so too are horns and strings and various percussive instruments slapped together in a way that is anything but artesian. There are very strong compositional moments, such as the free-jazz elements and horn playing of the third track, but they are all-together lost amidst the addle of noise that comprises the bulk of these tracks, which is truly a shame, as the members' talent is evident. With the exception of the fifth track, which takes its time developing from a GYBE! minimalism into a subtle, cleanly picked frenzy and back again, Crane Wars disintegrates into an example of what not to do with talent and progressive vision.

Ultimately Beans sound like a less mature, more hyperactive and experimental take on the ideals behind bands such as Pele and they end up failing much in the same way as that band's side projects (Raccoons, for instance). Because of the excess use of noise and abrasive aural textures the songs all fail to achieve any sort of individual identity and end up, outside of the complaints I've lodged, rather unremarkable.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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