Saturday, October 11, 2008

For those who haven't heard it, I should point out that The New Bloods' The Secret Life album is pretty great, maybe the best debut album by a band this year. Live, some of the dynamics are lost and the songs start to blur into each other, but the record itself goes from strength to strength. When I saw them, a friend said "Yeah, I'm not into them- They're just ripping off The Raincoats."

Later on, I asked that friend if he had heard anything by The Raincoats after their first record, namely, their second album, Odyshape, which I had come into possession of. He had not, which is fair enough: They're a band whose entire catalog is out of print. Odyshape is a really weird record. I pretty much don't get it, actually. Part of it could be the CD remaster not being the best: That generally explains why the drums sound recorded from a ditch, and why the other instruments sound likewise isolated from each other. That also seems deliberate, with the way the melodies stop and start, rising and falling, generally travelling through space, on song after song. Not a crowd-pleaser in the bunch. Y Pants would almost be a comparison point, but sensory deprivation chambers would be a better one. It's really strange, but completely compelling: What possessed them? Does the second Slits record a lot of people hate sound like this? (Probably not, since The Raincoats' self-titled debut is approximately three times better than Cut.) Is it possible they got worse at playing their instruments after their first album, even as they were getting more ambitious? A really odd record.

They made other records after this, but I haven't heard them.

The New Bloods, while fine, will probably never make a record as fucked-up as this one. It's good for records like Odyshape to exist, to throw the distinctiveness of a band like The Raincoats into relief and allow for there to be variations that exist that need not get branded a rip-off.

1 comment:

benjamin said...

i'm going to have to disagree with you, buddy. i think that the slits' first album is great all the way through and that the first raincoats album has maybe 4 good songs on it. not to say that they are a bad band, just that they don't make good albums. i used to own odyshape (got it used at a super saturday sale at evergreen in 02.) i think i listened to it 3 times? maybe 4? it was alright...
it seems like actual slits fans (not the 03-04 people who bought everything "post punk") like the 2nd album by the slits more than the first one. maybe it's just the 30 year olds i've talked to about this, though? i don't know...
got to say i am glad you like the new bloods album, though. it's fucking good. took a while to grow on me. i didn't like them at all at first, but they've gotten to be really good live.