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


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Angela, David & the Great Neapolitan Road Issue
Cenotaph Audio

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
If you were to read the announcement "from a member of Neutral Milk Hotel," you might stop and look twice, even parlay some interest into the project. In Guignol, we have Jeremy Barnes, who is in fact best known for his work with Neutral Milk Hotel, though he has also undertaken musical ventures in Bablicon and A Hawk and a Hacksaw. While most of us are eternally pining for new material from the Neutral Milk Hotel camp, this draws more from his other projects for something weird and distinctly anti-musical.

A prime example rears its water colored head on the first track, "Of Houses and Canals", which is in essence a barrage of handclaps disintegrating into synthetic, similar sounding decay. The track gives the feeling that Guignol is playing a grand trick on its audience, but as real seemingly turns into fake without a dividing line, it prophesizes a larger theme: where does reality end and fiction begin?

Two tracks are over twelve minutes, while two are under forty seconds, and this only furthers the notion of a fantasy world where even time is not predictable. "A Gourd Question" plays like the background music to an exotic and nonsensical Indian restaurant, where colors are psychedelically lit. It stirs energy and continues to unwrap its strange mysticism with found sounds, whistling and muddied ethnic flair.

"Invisible Sports" travels to the basement of a New Age store. Wind chimes mark a friendly entrance, but the catacombs are still dark and frightening, leveled by the tortured screams of captives and harsh whispers. In parallel, Guignol is not an immediately friendly or comprehensible project. For every piece of outsider art, there is outsider music; both meant to be observed, dissected, and curiously identified with.

Each of the tracks on Angela, David & the Great Neapolitan Road Issue peels away layers of near-music to reveal that there is nothing conventionally musical inside. Like Pandora's Box, there are only riddles, threaded by more of the unexpected. To those fans who unabashedly harmonize to "Song Against Sex," this album could work two ways - it could be too much of an effort, pitting sensibility against intentional obscurity, or it could reaffirm the fact that those masters from Neutral Milk Hotel are smart on so many levels.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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