Monday, July 9, 2012

CD REVIEW: The Illegal Wiretaps “American Family Radio Volume 1”

The Illegal WiretapsAmerican Family Radio Volume 1
                Though this album title might remind me of a similar title by the band Everclear, you will not be hearing any Everclear cover songs on here.     The Illegal Wiretaps are back and they are back with their techno experimental instrumental sound I wish we could create a name for to describe in one word.  
                There are two types of songs on this album (Okay, really three) and they are what you have come to expect from The Illegal Wiretaps.   Certain songs are what you would consider to be “normal length” for a song and feature this sort of fun; almost catchy beats and synth that you just want to crank up and dance along with.    The other songs are much longer- well over ten minutes- and seem to be two songs in one.   I’m not going to tell them how to space out their songs though because they don’t tell me how to space out my reviews.   It’s a nice deal that we have.  
                Anyway, their longer songs tend to be a bit more moderately paced at the beginning, then slow down toward the end.     The prime example of this is “Born in Reno”, which takes a powder at around the five minute mark then comes back at the six minute mark only to be a bit slower and more ambient than techno.     The song also ends up leaving the last thirty seconds on base (Hey, a baseball wordplay used in music!), but again, I’m not going to tell them how to make their songs since they don’t tell me how to make my reviews.   Though if I left several empty lines in between paragraphs… I don’t know, maybe I should try it.
                In general, the instrumental songs make me wonder if they’re using looping and I’m pretty sure that they are.   If in fact they aren’t, it at least very much sounds like they are in some of the musical portions of the show.   I can pretty much assure you that they do use looping in a song like “Dough Boy”, but it’s more like sampling as they take snippets of hip-hop, screaming and something else and repeat them throughout various points of the song.    For some reason that song really reminds me of the Blue October song “X Amount of Words”, but I’m probably the only one. 
                The sort-of-title-song, “American Family Radio”, has this distinct background noise in it that I do not think is that of cats meowing, but try telling to my cats when they hear it.  
                The final song, “bIGOT”, has a pretty long audio clip with someone telling us we are “going to have to choose between homosexuality and religious liberty—it is impossible to have both”.   I’m not sure who the political tool spewing this homophobia is exactly, but I do know for a fact that God loves all people, so yeah, suck it guy whose name I don’t know.
                Along with a few other songs, the first song- “Cyanide or Sugar”- has some faint background vocals going on (See also: “Xymoxicillan”) , but it isn’t until the eighth song, “100-20 Hindsight (Major Lasik Mix)” that we first get to hear some actual vocals with a rusty acoustic guitar that sort of completely shifts the pace from the rest of the song.   Now I just wonder if anyone else who reviews will bail out before the eighth song and simply write it all off as being mostly instrumental.    It always pays to listen to every song all the way through because you never know what The Illegal Wiretaps are going to do next and they are capable of anything.

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