[$5 // Edition of 50 // https://5cmrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/real-men-dont-rape]
It's hard to escape the title of this cassette. It's almost as hard to escape as the fact that the main image of it is a guy holding his junk. But, you know, I've never had a problem with male nudity because in some ways it's like looking at yourself in the mirror, you dig? But for me, the word "rape" is a really ugly one. You know how people have lists of words they deem to be "swears" or "profanity" or just things they won't say? Well, a word such as "fuck" or "shit" doesn't bother me nearly as much as the word "rape". And it should be like that, shouldn't it?
The songs of Culture Chester bring forth a bedroom organ type of sound with violin melodies and cymbal crashes, a carnival ride the likes of High Pop or perhaps Blue Meanies without the ska. But then there is also a certain amount of anger to it, as the vocals are sometimes almost screamed and the music just becomes heavy, borderline some sort of indie hardcore. It reminds me of Cloud Nothings in that way, but really these are likely to be songs the likes of which you have never heard before.
As much as the singer can sound like Christopher Mintz-Plasse, he can also sound like he is quoting Shakespeare. Parts of the earliest mewithoutYou come out (pre-Tooth & Nail, look it up) and there are also these back and forth guitar tones like that black and yellow song (I think those were the colors). Synth tones go back and forth, somewhere between the end tones of a lost arcade game and a dial tone on an original telephone. Some horn blows away, perhaps a trumpet, and it reminds me a bit of I Kill Giants now. The side ends with many mentions of the title of the fourth song, "The Grass Is Green".
Side B begins with hypnotic piano notes and then some frantic sort of cross between screaming and speaking. It reminds me of Alison Ranger, who I actually have a cassette of somewhere, and they were one of my favorite bands for such a long time. We seem to go back and forth, but it might also just be round and round the merry-go-round. The piano seems to stumble a little and kind of sounded cool. A quiet point gives way to a trumpet blast, as we find ourselves now on the second song of Side B, sixth overall, "Espionausea" (Get it? It's a cross between being a spy and throwing up)
The vocals come out and they sound pained (and not just because he is saying "This is hurting") In some weird way, this reminds me of the blues. The guitars come out clanking like that classic Violent Femmes song where he begs his dad for the car keys. Guitar notes bring an urgency as horns blare once more, amidst some altered vocals. Record scratches, a cow mooing and a Jonathan Davis sounding "go!" bring out the most experimental aspects of this cassette so far and that's really saying a lot.
A drum based "Let's party together" song comes on next, as part of the final track. If nothing else, it is teaching us pronouns. This turns into some kind of house party thrash and then finds its way into a club mix, as a part of the type of night club I've never really been to before. Some sharpness comes out and it begins to feel as if it is glitching. This is what takes us to the end of "She Is Not Your Beautiful House" as well as this cassette on the whole.
Musically, I kind of forgot about the title and what I was going to say about the band name before. It just doesn't seem to matter now, as this takes you through a journey of sound that pulls from various influences (at least in my mind) and ends up with something completely new and diverse, the likes of which we've never heard before. I'm definitely into it and it is every bit as good in the opening songs with vocals as it is in the last song with experimental madness.