ADULT. Why Bother?

[Thrill Jockey; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: drone rock, synth punk
Others: Numbers, The Presets, Gold Chains & Sue Cie, Broadcast, The Blow

The trio of guitarist Sam Consiglio, circuit-bending synth master Adam Lee Miller, and photographer/vocalist Nicola Kuperus turned out to be short-lived. Added to the “permanent” line-up after recording 2005’s D.U.M.E. EP, Sam left the husband-and-wife duo early in 2006 for undisclosed reasons. It's not a crucial loss, since Adam and Nicola have been making music together since the late-'90s, but it is noticeable. Why Bother? may not have quite the same sonic guitar depth as Gimme Trouble, but the mechanical, industrial-punk synth work, inching closer to perfection with each release, does an admirable job of filling in the aural gaps. Furthermore, Nicola’s Detroit protest lyrics are as dependable as the catastrophic effect of inflation on the working class, striking as being slightly more pointed and precise than their predecessors, while the manic, electric buzz (don’t say electroclash) that pervades the duo’s back catalog remains as fervent as ever.

ADULT.’s aural barrage definitely isn’t for everyone, though. I can see how the combination of Nicola’s forceful, almost shrill voice, the constant pounding drum machine beats, and metallic synths would numb a lot of people to this music before they gave it a proper chance to sink in. Believe me, I’m not even a big fan of it myself (as much as I respect it as a reviewer), but I hold hope that those new to this sound would give it the fair shot it deserves. Even as a moderate outsider, I find this, like all of their releases, to be a grower, rooted in undeniable talent and quality songwriting craftsmanship. However, I would really like to see them attempt more tracks like the almost ambient closer “Harvest” and “The Importance Of Being Folk, Part 1.” These tracks are a breakneck change of pace, and expanding upon their styles would provide variety or even something of a narrative tinge, perhaps allowing the lyrics to gain a contrastingly contemplative edge. And teasing people with the in-your-face basslines would make the listener more grateful when they appear, instead of constantly clubbing them over the head with them. Regardless, Why Bother? is one more indisputable reason to give a shit about this band. Go ahead, bother.

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