The Boredoms Chocolate Synthesizer

[Reprise; 1994]

Styles: psychedelic punk, noise rock
Others: OOIOO, Grind Orchestra, Xinlisupreme

The Boredoms are freaks. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I still think they're either a bunch of disgusting little gremlins, or those horribly deformed -- and frightening -- children in the Garbage Pail Kids movie. Just imagine whatever wretched B-movie creature you want, and then picture it snorting out manic vocals over schizophrenic, instrumental freak-outs. There you have the bands general aesthetic, and it should act as your first warning when approaching early Boredoms.

Granted, each of their albums has been more digestible than its predecessor, but Chocolate Synthesizer is by no means accessible to your average listener.  It is similar to, say, Hardcore Goth Metal in the sense that the performance borders on nihilistic. But it still rocks. In fact, the 'we are fucking insane' motive doesn't necessarily apply to the compositions, just the way they are churned out. In the hands of a lesser, more harmless indie rock outfit, these songs could have been more traditional… and to be fair, in the hands of a more hardcore, spazzed out noise band, they could have been far more avant-garde. The middle ground achieved by the Boredoms is what makes them special. Yoshimi and Atari's drumming never sounds like random, awkward noise. Instead, their frantic, driving rhythms give the album a lot of its 'punk' attitude. Interspersed throughout are jabs of trumpet, complimenting the rugged guitar sound better than you might think. It all sounds a bit overwhelming at first, but upon further inspection a coherent structure emerges. Once you've become familiar with the Boredoms method, there is no turning back.

"Acid Police" sets the album's tone immediately. The back and forth vocals have become one of the band's trademarks, making Chocolate Synthesizer's opener a classic. On tracks like "B for Boredomsh" and "Smoke 7" the band's more progressive side starts to show through, obviously hinting towards a sound they would perfect over their next few albums. Elsewhere, the three-note melody in "Shock City" lays the groundwork for Deerhoof, and ten seconds later, does the same for most other modern noise rockers. Hopefully this reissue will remind people how influential the Boredoms sound has been. The noise rock thing has been done before, of course, but rarely has it stretched this far in every direction, and rarely has it been so successful.

1. Acid Police
2. Chocolate Synthesizer
3. Synthesizer Guide Book on Fire
4. Shock City
5. Tomato Synthesiser
6. Anarchy in the ukk
7. Mama Brain
8. Action Synthesiser Hero
9. Voredoms
10. B for Boredoms
11. Eedoms
12. Smoke 7
13. Turn Table Boredoms
14. I'm Not Synthesiser (Ypy?)
15. Now Dom Go Synthesizer Way (Why?)

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