Thursday, February 01, 2007

Skinny Puppy: Mythmaker (SPV)
release: January 30, 2007
styles: Industrial, experimental, electronic
similar: Skinny Puppy
rating: **1/2

Practically a legend through its 20+ years, Skinny Puppy's bleak, statement-making music is definitely an acquired taste. Hell, I even tried to get into their less accesible industrial noise-art tracks by watching a concert video years ago but found myself satisfied enough with dance club favorites "Assimilate" and "Smothered Hope." On its 13th album, it's hard not to expect the same qualities for which SP is known. At the same time, it probably would not be a good idea to expect a replication from the late 1980s. Featuring lyrics inspired by recent experiences with manipulation and control as well as the same from "public figures," Ogre, cEvin Key and new member Mark Walk are hit and miss with the latest installment. Since the distorted vocals have been a defining characteristic of the band, it's tough hearing otherwise. When the vocals are relatively clean, the band is convincing. The vocoder, however, should have been left behind (especially in "Haze"), as it removes the seriousness of a serious band. Leave that for Daft Punk. "Politikil" is one such track with distorted goodness and segments of it is welcomingly old school. And as for those lyrics, when they can be made out, it's troubling. "Ugli" includes the repetitive line "Jesus wants to be ugly" before making noises and dying, while on the first track there's something about "your mother's pisshole" and being "the maggot's muscle." If the delivery and context of those lines were as strong as a classic like "man in motion going nowhere" or had a notable sound bite, I just might be compelled to interpret the meaning. Otherwise, forget it! -Kenyon

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