Hair Police Obedience Cuts

[Freedom From; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: noise rock, hardcore
Others: Harry Pussy, The Haters, early Black Dice, Wolf Eyes, Prurient

Listening to Hair Police's Obedience Cuts is the musical equivalent to being ripped apart by two lions fighting for your sloppy innards. It's like slicing the middle of your left eye with a razorblade and pouring saltwater into the gaping wound. Like cramming a soldering iron down your throat so far that you could chew on the handle. Luckily, the violent imagery that Obedience Cuts invokes is purely imaginary, and thankfully, self-mutilation is not required to enjoy the album. But with these sort of analogues, Obedience Cuts can't possibly sound good, can it? Depends on your definition, but the answer would still probably be no. This music is ugly. And violent. A repelling combination, to be sure.

So why should anyone listen to Obedience Cuts, or even Hair Police, if the music is so ugly and violent? Why waste time listening to an album that is so alienating and willing to shrug off almost any trace of convention? Those are valid questions, certainly, but that's like asking why should anyone do music in the first place? There are many ways in which music serves a particular function in society, but most often, it boils down to either viewing music as art or entertainment. It can be both, of course, but it's the latter in which people become closed off to such left-field experimentation. Rather than expecting a song with a backbeat to groove to or a song that either underscores or evokes a certain mood, this album is only affective when you surrender your assumptions and expectations, and simply allow the music to envelop you.

And let me tell you, it's not easy. Listening to Hair Police requires a full commitment. Trying to do anything while listening is already setting yourself up for wasted time. You really have to sit down in the middle of the room, crank the volume, and just dwell on the music. Let it come at you. But it's not going to come if you're hiding behind a wall of expectations, and it'll certainly never come if you're checking your e-mail in between the blow-out-your-blood caterwauling and full-throttle drumming. Although describing the music would be fun and challenging, it'd be essentially pointless. No words could possibly describe the sounds that come from Obedience Cuts. But I can tell you that, with Obedience Cuts, Hair Police have created their most pronounced statement yet, adding new vocabulary to the Western music vernacular. And I haven't even said one thing about their live show.

1. Let's See Who's Here and Who's Not
2. Obedience Cuts
3. Forged by Wreck
4. Bee Scrape
5. Boneless
6. The Empty Socket
7. Open Body
8. Full of Guts
9. Skull Mold

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