Anti-Social Music The Nitrate Hymnal (with the Gena Rowlands Band)

[Lujo; 2006]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: indie opera, post-punk orchestra, avant-classical
Others: Bob Massey, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Clogs

Oh, the grandiosity. Oh, how overwrought. And operatic to boot. The Nitrate Hymnal is an elaborate and extravagant project involving 8mm film, grandparents, an orchestra, funds and commissions, and quite a bit of boldness. Bob Massey, ringleader of the entire project, received the gift of old home movies from his grandfather and crafted this musical presentation out of it””inspired and audacious. The Nitrate Hymnal is a studio recording of this project, which was first performed live as a multimedia spectacular. Musically, the album is impressive. You find guitars playing alongside orchestral arrangements, and it proves to be emotive enough for the listener. The problem is that there's too much singing, an overabundance of words. The vocal additives are a distraction, working against the mood music. The lyrics are all mostly tailored toward one topic, that of lost innocence and aging. They aren't crafted well, though. This isn't good songwriting. The singing seems overdone, unable to convey anything the music can't achieve on its own. The potential of this project is huge, and with the exclusion of the dull and destitute lyrics and voice, that potential may have been realized. But what we're left with is the remains of an ambitious project””an orphaned brainchild.

1. The End
2. I Had A Dream
3. The Mountain is Gone
4. Pictures From Her Perfect Life
5. Dear Posterity
6. Dreams
7. Bloodsong
8. The Body Wants More Than Skin
9. Secrets
10. Finale