Review of STRAIGHT A's Self Help from Life is Noise...
What would happen if Battles and Fantomás decided to tag-team an album? More than likely, this would be the result. Freaked out, whammy-laden guitars tweak out over tight, razor-sharp bass lines and some fantastically creative drums that would do quite well in a Swing Kids track. Overall the production on this album is great; everything seems to get a chance in the limelight. The vocals spend most of the time buried in distortion, but the melodies ring out almost despite this fact, just another display of how on-point the vocalist really is.
This album really is a smorgasbord of sound and while the main backline of drums/guitar/bass remains, everything from horn sections to pianos to freaked-out oscillator action seems to fit in comfortably. “Awkward Silence” sounds like a ska tune from Hell, while tracks like” Electric Candelabra” and “Trestles” show that sometimes music speaks louder than words. The instrumentation all through the album is flawless, with the drums becoming increasingly more involved as each track passes, especially shining through in the jazzier sections.
This album definitely keeps you on your toes – no two songs are alike, and there’s rarely room to relax. It’s definitely one for those of us with a short attention span, and a liking for the more eclectic side of music. Drop in at any point in the album and you’ll immediately get hooked, if not by a melody then definitely by wanting to figure out how whatever is going on happens. Like a musical chemistry experiment gone horribly right, Straight A’s Self Help keeps you guessing.