Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Gun Called Tension - A Gun Called Tension


Sometimes I feel sorry for the bands I've never heard of, when they get to pass my ears in this relentless pursuit of CDs I'll applaud, be bored with or scorn.  Particularly when I have a headache, as A Gun Called Tension found recently.

I'll have to admit the band's name made me view them with suspicion even before I'd heard a note.  Band names are a tricky business.  When I was young, I was very fond of a group called Penguins on Safari (not that I ever saw or heard them) because the name made me smile.  And for ridiculous names, AGCT has a long way to go before challenging my special favourite, People With Chairs Up Their Noses (not that I ever saw or heard them either).

Anyway, I pressed play, and heard - some interesting music.  There's some annoying monotonal rap, not shouty but with that next-to-nothing background that eventually makes it akin to the water torture.  There's some cool electronica and some next-to-rock (you know, it's kind of rocky but not quite) along with some OK lyrics in some songs.  And ordinarily I'd welcome this sort of genre-shifting, but in this case it just doesn't seem cohesive.  Although I only skipped two or three tracks after listening to about 30 seconds' worth, there wasn't anything here that made my ears prick up.  Not one song.  And nothing that made me want to look up who these people are.



I'm not surprised Mine doesn't like this.  I completely agree with her about the cohesiveness of this self-titled debut.  The band, made up of members of various other bands including Modest Mouse, The Beta Band and others, have put together a challenging album (which, as we all know, either means difficult to listen to or a bunch of crap).  It sounds more like a hastily drawn-together compilation album than a cohesive band effort.  That they use various MCs probably doesn't help either. 

There are a few tracks on this album that are actually worth it, although a few tracks hardly makes an album.  Gold Fronts sounds like a long lost Moby track (in fact, it sounds better than most Moby tracks, as far as I'm concerned).  Treason comes out of nowhere, sounding more like a post-rock track from a New York band, with screamo vocals and a fat, indie bass line.  Foundation, featuring Roots Manuva, is probably a better example of his work than mostly anything he has done for himself.

This is another of those CDs I got thinking I might learn something about production as it is produced by Phil Ek, one of the best indie producers around and came with a glowing recommendation from a source I usually trust.  I have since learnt to be more discerning (at least I like to think I have, anyway).  The only track I'd bother keeping or listening to with any regularity would be Gold Fronts (the video is great).  The rest won't be missed, not in the slightest.


For more information: http://www.myspace.com/agct

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