“Idiotproof” – ‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’
Let’s face it: the music scene has died…
What of late, is worth mentioning on such an auspicious occasion? Flicking through the sites, the blogs, the albums, the artists: all of it seems like a chaotic mess. Music just seems to be repeating itself, over and over again, the same sound without any new pizazz. This smacks of June-July’09, back when we were juniors to the blog: everything was riding at an all time low and we were struggling to find anything to listen to or even post. That was before we had album-requests to fall back on – just in case the winter weather put every other artist back to sleep, all of them waiting for the warmer months of spring.
We thought we might be sleeping too: Highly Evolved has been idling. We left it to its own devices, to its own accord – it’s been two weeks. This, we regretfully call, neglect. It happens. Following a call-up from Filip Molitor, guitarist for the band ‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’, I thought a post might kick-start things back into some sort of regular action [back to the time when two-hundred hits per-day were just considered ordinary]…
‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’ shows some interesting, although occasionally misplaced, potential for a debut album from the scenes of hardcore. “Idiotproof” has anything other than the subtleties akin to minimalist: for all intents and purposes, moments of silence are brief, and these interludes are interspersed with moments of exuberance that literally rock your speakers. This sees my first attempt at reviewing an album otherwise beyond [far beyond] my musical comfort-zone. And while I have generally steered clear of anything remotely resembling “Idiotproof” in the past, I decided to give it a decent play-through long enough for me to appreciate its eccentricities. Even some of its lyrics I would consider well written when they’re not mired in sound. “Leviathan” is an excellent example, and I’ll touch base with that in the paragraphs to come.
Comprised of ‘Fox’ on lead-vocals, ‘Filip Molitor’, previously mentioned on guitar and backing-vocals, ‘Rob Jones’ on bass and backing-vocals and ‘Anna Goldstein’ on percussion, ‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’ occasionally smacks of ‘Rage Against The Machine’ – whom I know of fleetingly – an adequate comparison, but an offhanded one nonetheless. ‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’ is effectively my introduction into sound like this, such as it is, so my context for discussion will be somewhat limited. I am occasionally put off by the roar of words like:
“F-CK YOU… OLD LADY!”
And while the hilarity in themselves [I have a wicked, dark sense of humour…] might be enough for some, they tend to drag a perfectly good track down a notch; especially for an introduction. “Pressing The Any Key” opens stereotypically – guitar, drums, bass. And then:
The BOSE* speakers nearly blew up: lucky they were my Dad’s – no harm done. While I cannot say that I enjoy “Pressing The Any Key” in its entirety, I do love its little instances of flare. The tickle of a guitar solo which manages to creep out here and there, a thud from the bass, from the percussion; on top of this, lyrics which manage to snake their way to the surface. “Lead Paint” follows-on from this in much the same manner. It has a driving rhythm which is absolutely infectious, driven by the collaboration of guitar, bass and percussion that just rolls for a good head-nod. Solos are exceptionally well-strung between chorus’, squealing in the highs for a difference in pitch which is usually confined to the lows.
Tracks like “Wave At My Grave” show that ‘Rich Uncle Skeleton’ has a softer side; but only when it wants to be soft. There is a tidy juxtaposition between smooth-loud and vicious – if I might coin the terms – where ‘Fox’ on lead vocals sings in a very plain, yet very emotionally-laden voice comparable to ‘Tunde Adebimpe’ off ‘TV On The Radio’. It is not always prominent, but it is sometimes there. This is then offset by a hardcore-octave more on the terms of screamo rather than anything at all comparably close to standard rock. At the 3:15 mark there is this absolutely wonderful guitar solo where ‘Molitor’ breaks out into full ‘Dragonforce’ fury – reminds me of ‘Power-rangers*’ when I was a kid. Those were the days…
“Leviathan” is perhaps the only track I could conceivably love: it smacks of epic-potential. Simply because there is nothing over-strung about it. It’s softer, casual, and its lyrics do the work rather than the music. While the chaotic battle between percussion, bass and guitar can be fantastic at creating a sort of never-ending power-crescendo, “Leviathan” just brings everything into perfect focus for an awesome track, with awesome lyrics:
Coming out to see me
Where you’re sitting,
Where you are
Are you running
Are you frightened
Are you simply just starved
And I could tell you stories of beautiful lies
While you sit,
While you wait through glistening eyes,
Just leave me on the road.
In automatic mode…
Love it. Just love it. Everything fits. “Rich Uncle Skeleton” follows, and we return to the world of heavy. The lyrics, again, are particularly enjoyable:
“DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!”
And our introduction to that rich uncle skeleton ensues: he’s that empty man in the corner*. And what can I say about “Fuck You Old Lady?” Well… it just kind of powers through. You really get into the heat of it. I think it would be a great drinking song; catchy lyrics, catchy beat, power-crescendo after power-crescendo. F-ck, what’s not to like?
With the album totaling around fifty-minutes, tracks float around the wholesome three-minute mark on average, with only one track considerably ephemeral [“Plus”], with only one at six-minutes [“All’s Well (That Ends)”], with a total of fourteen tracks all-up. A full-length feature album at last, and with a few tweaks I suppose, could perhaps market on vinyl as well. “Idiotproof” remains an intriguing debut from a band I will perhaps look out for in the future. I can honestly say it’s been a blast listening to this album because it’s been a blast writing this review. What more to life could there be other than having a bit of fun???
I can think of nothing.
One should always follow their bliss…
Reviewers Pick: “Leviathan”
Stand-out Tracks: “Wave At My Grave”, “Leviathan”, “Rich Uncle Skeleton”
The Enantiomorphic God