Monday, February 5, 2018

Cassette Review:
Guide To Bizarre Behavior
"Guide To Bizarre Behavior Vol. 5"
(ShanGORIL La Records)

One of the first things that I did when I received this Guide To Bizarre Behavior cassette was check to see how many volumes I had reviewed before this.    Oddly, I have only reviewed the first three, and as such, by reviewing this one now, at Vol. 5, I have effectively skipped over the fourth volume which does exist on the ShanGORIL La Records Bandcamp page (and as a CD physically) and as such since I like to feel complete I do vow to go back at some point before the end of 2018 and post a review for Volume 4.

"You think this is a joke? It's an atrocity!"   Weird, 1970's sci-fi type of electronic sounds come out as if this is some sort of big monster movie that I would've watched years ago and really enjoyed.    The string plucks are delicate and precise.   There is also some darkness in these tones, as the audio clip continues.    This leads into an acoustic guitar strummed number with singing.    "It's on wheels you could just take it with you", as the piano keeps are tickled and bongos seem to be in play as well.    There is this cool cabana feel to this song, which the insert tells me is called "All The Tanks In The World". (Note the lyric about the wheels before and the tank being in the title, if you can get "The Simpsons" reference)

There is this weird quality to the next song where the electronic beats and sounds mixed with them remind me slightly of Nine Inch Nails.   The singing also reminds me slightly of Trent Reznor, but on the whole neither of them completely remind me of NIN and as such the dark electro qualities of the song "Las Vegas" brings something both new and familiar to the surface at the same time.    Piano keeps, dark background sounds still which feel somewhat haunted and vocals hidden within them make the fourth and final song on Side A some cross between relaxing beauty and scary nostalgia. 

On the flip side, we have a dark acoustic rock song to open things up.   I always like to compare this kind of sound with Radiohead's "Paranoid Android", mainly because I loved that music video as a kid, but there should be a whole genre of this, right-- dark folk or something? I'd listen to that genre because it sounds fun and this song itself is a good example of what I'd like that genre to sound like.   Take that traditional, acoustic style of folk singer you've come to know and love and add in these tones that make you feel rather uncomfortable.    See, I feel that acoustic guitar chords usually help you feel comfortable and so having the adverse effect here is just more than I could have ever asked for in music.

The song "Hipster Music" is best summed up with the line "It's not all it's cracked up to be", which is more a reflection of the hipster culture than the song itself mind you.  [Hipster Edit: Why isn't this on vinyl?]  "29 Lines" has audio clips spliced into the acoustic guitar parts that have a few sounds as well which stray away from the folk rock-type narrative.     At the heart of it, I keep thinking of these songs as being an acoustic guitar and a voice, but there is so much else in them which makes them stand apart from anything else you've ever heard.

Even if it's just the way this one part in the last song seems to speed everything up.   It's that soothing acoustic sound which could be in some sort of lounge somewhere, it even reminds me of some acoustic Stone Temple Pilots songs, but with the other added elements (pianos, drums, clapping, etc.) Guide To Bizarre Behavior continues to forge their own sound and create music which could both survive in the mainstream culture but also greatly challenges it. 

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