REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 11/15/2005
Les Angles Morts
Les Angles Morts
What's Real?
Blue Skies Turn Black


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Huge Antlers"

Buy me now
Myles Broscoe and Brendan Reed, this prog-punk outfit's founders, are ex-members of a little band called the Arcade Fire; they parted ways with Win and the gang after recording their debut EP. Apparently their off-the-wall visual aesthetics and fondness for screeching, keyboard-bejeweled grindcore weren't given their due and proper, so Broscoe and Reed bailed in search of more simpatico collaborators. Since then, of course, the Arcade Fire have blossomed into one of the biggest indie success stories of the past decade, so the duo's decision to defect may have been just a bit premature, but you probably won't catch either man crying into his absinthe over it.

Recorded at famed recording studio/squat house Hotel2Tango, What's Real? sounds like nothing so much as Italian prog-rockers Goblin playing ZZ Top's Fandango at twice its original speed, but tuned down three octaves. It takes a hell of a lot of moxie to even attempt carnivalesque blasts of synthcore like "What's a Real Summer" and "A Very Fraid", let alone adorn them with flammable melodies and a hint of restraint. However, that's where restraint stops and the drugs take control; the album's second half sounds like crackheads dancing atop electric pianos, listening to the theme from Legend of Zelda in their headphones while screaming "themmm lucifers ain't gon get meeee tonighhttt" at the top of their lungs. The band almost get back on their feet with "Ninja Gaiden"'s slashing guitars, fizzly pop squiggles and browbeaten rhythm, but then they slip up near the second bridge and wind up face down in a heaping pile of dung. Even then, you can't help but admire them as they scrape up the courage to wheedle their way through closer "Struggling to Survive", an army of junked synths behind them.

It's not pretty, it's definitely not sane, and at some instances it isn't even music, but for all of its glaring faults and horrendous musical missteps, What's Real? never surrenders its grating individuality for fear of artistic or commercial suicide. That's not something you can say about the Arcade Fire, is it?



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.