Old Time Relijun 2012

[K; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: garbage barge rock, sex spillage, punk
Others: Dexateens, Captain Beefheart, Cramps, Birthday Party

One man's hyperbole is another's gospel. I think some critics are going a little overboard on Kanye. Sometimes it reads like they're damning with faint exaltation. I listen to Late Registration, and at best I hear some beats that make me wanna move. I hear no genius, nothing truly exceptional. I may have wanted to give the new Old Time Relijun an abysmally, unmentionably, ridiculously ecstatic review. But I won't. Because no matter how good (and it's very convincing indeed) the K label's press sheet is, this is nothing revelatory. There are advantages to writing in a vacuum -- to not reporting from a scene. You don't feel like a slave to popular opinion. You can write from the personal experience of an album, rather than spouting derision from the stuffy ivory tower that befits your typical, narrow-minded music detective. I have not the rep of one of these intellectual snipers, but I don't care. I'm too impressed by a good amount of what I come across to be that skeptical.

Consideration of this topic could certainly go further, but I'm here to talk about 2012. In addition to the glowing, imaginative write-up, my copy's got a doubly compelling performance of the dance hit "Cold Water" in Milano. As I'd suspected, this song really struts its stuff live. I didn't realize, however, that what I was hearing was actually an upright bass. It's very thick and present in the mix, and I typically associate the upright bass with those nearly inaudible solos on jazz records. And singer Arrington de Dionyso's really does look possessed and in the moment, like Janis would get. Yet OTR's a very different sort of soul. It's slack and it's gunky as all get out. Just try not to curdle inside when you listen to their paint thinner jangle. It's nearly impossible.

That said: I'm happy to report that the crash is still happily careening down the cliffside on the new LP. The loose feel that has always helped to define the band is still there, so fans can rest easy. For those looking to try it on, 2012 is gonna fuck with you. You might be a little perturbed by the skronky, stumbling trots that hiss out your speakers, but you just might find yourself charmed by its obstinate gait after a handful of tracks. What seems to distinguish Lost Light and this entry from past efforts is an embracement of moody drift. Stuck in between their minimalist Cramps-vamp are sections of shiftless bog meditations that are so vividly muggy and fungal you can almost smell it. There's nothing exactly professional going on here, but the loving attention to detail is what's going to turn your out-and-out revulsion to a rapt one. Round the time you get to "Burial Mound," you're sneering, turning your head from side to side maniacally. Derivative or not, this primo slime can get to you, and get to you well.

1. Chemical Factory
2. Los Angeles
3. Wolves and Wolverines
4. Reptilians
5. Magnetic Electric
6. Your Mama Used to Dance
7. Lions and Lambs
8. Burial Mound
9. Her Fires Chill Me
10. Tundra
11. The King of Lost Light (a reprise)
12. The Blood and The Milk