Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cyber Smokes by B K Club


Grade: 4.2
1. A vs A
2. 3 for 5
3. Farting in Church
4. Burning Roses

Listen Here!

I deliberated on whether or not to give this a grade for awhile, but I ultimately decided that it was necessary lest good music loose its value. For if we consider everything to be great, then what is greatness? 

Anyway, B K Club's Cyber Smokes is really strange, good in some regards, ludicrous in others. They adopt a bluesy, approach to teen angst music (very much like some of Okkervil River's older albums). They are fairly good at this. The guitars and rattles are precise and provide a good, minimalist tempo. The instrumentals remind me of Bon Iver which is very cool. Probably the coolest thing about this record is the use of harmonicas (very Bob Dylan) and horns (very Neutral Milk Hotel). 

Track one (A vs A) is probably the strongest offering on this record. It is repetitive and a bit hypnotic. It is somber and serious, admonishing something closely resembling peace (though this theme is later undermined by track 4). It is kind of hook-heavy though.

Track two (3 for 5) is alright. It feels much like a transition between songs. Drew Lane murmurs almost incomprehensible shit while horns and guitars play over him. It really doesn't go anywhere though because the next track is equally absurd. 

Track three (Farting in Church) begins with idiotic scatting for the first minute or so. This would be forgivable if the record was longer than 4 tracks, but it isn't. Only half of the album is actually music, which brings on this aghast sense of incredulity. After the scatting, Drew Lane tells dumb, cutesy jokes for the remainder of the track, which is sort of endearing and not entirely taboo, but the jokes don't really go anywhere. I saw a close resemblance to Radiohead's Fitter Happier, where the vocalist mutters various phrases while music plays over. The entire body of the album is wasted by tracks 2 and 3, which aren't really music in my opinion.

Track four (Burning Roses) gets serious again with dark, antithetical lyrics about murdering someone in a particularly vile, cold-blooded way. This reminds me of Okkervil River's Westfall and For Real. I think that the bluesy, folksy sound is a great medium to explore violence and darkness which are most prominently featured in genres like Metal, Grunge, and Rap. 

Ultimately, Cyber Smokes fails. I don't think that this is a testament to their lack of artistic talent. Rather, I think it's a testament to their laziness. This EP is the inkling of a good idea. It could have been developed far better. Rather than coming up with a few good songs and throwing them out into cyberspace, they should have spent more time honing their songs and adding more. As far as I'm concerned, tracks 2 and 3 should be thrown out altogether or perhaps synthesized into shorter offerings that serve as relevant transitions between songs. I only hope that this inkling of a good idea will eventually become something far better.