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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

False Front - Criminal Kind

Name: False Front
Album: Criminal Kind
Year: 1993
Style: Alterna-Metal
Similar Bands: Cows, Moistboyz, Motorhead, Animal Bag, Ugly Kid Joe
"One-Word"Review: Longhair-motorcross-can-smashing-jam
Based Out Of: Philadelphia Area
Label: Shimmy Disc  
Criminal Kind - Cover & Record

Criminal Kind - Back & Record
Criminal Kind (1993)
  1. The Cage Of Sour Songs 4:44
  2. Not Enough 3:38
  3. Criminal Kind 4:05
  4. Iraq & Roll 2:08
  5. Home 4:11
  6. X 4:29 /
  7. Turn Down the Stretcher On the Swamp Key 4:33
  8. Curse of Eden 3:13
  9. Cakes & Beer 6:39
  10. Chooglin' the Mojo Spy 3:16
  11. Maniac I, pt. 2 2:33
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:Jeff Atkins - Art Director
Kramer - Producer, Engineer
Ron Paul - Asst Producer
Guy Heller - Vocals (Moistboyz)
Bill Fowler - Guitars (Sound Of Urchin)
Marc Carney - Drums (accd to hemisphere)
Vic Moist - Bass (accd to hemisphere)
Joanne Racciatti - Sax
Joe F. Rose - Front Cover
Matthew Luxich - Back Cover

Unknown-ness: I never heard of these guys. Apparently, these guys have ties to, are friends with, and have opened for Ween many times. So I might have actually seen these guys play back in 94. I am a fan of Ween, and I saw Ween around then a couple times, but do not remember the opening acts (except for Instant Death once). And to prove the point further, both Aaron and Mickey's names are in the liner notes. I also recognised an old friend's name on the liner notes, whom I've not talked to in a long time, but knew from my community college days and has connections to the guys in Ween. As for the record, I found it at Amoeba Records in LA (seems odd to find a Philly based artist in LA) for a dollar. I bought it mainly for the same reason I bought the Egomaniacs album: the Shimmy Disc label. I did not know about their Philly ties when I bought it. I was a bit wary of the artwork, which makes the band looks like a bunch of pot-head slacker hip-hop wanna-bes. But I was secure that the record would at least be interesting, as are most of the artists on the Shimmy label.

Album Review: “The Cage of Sour Songs” begins side 1 with a quiet, slowed down quote from “A Clockwork Orange.” Then the drums and bass kick in with a driving beat and whining & wailing metal guitars. The vocals are not as much singing as they are angry speaking. It reminds me of the Cows, but not quite as intense or fast. It feels like run-of-the-mill alternative, wall-of-sound production famous in the early 90’s. The song ends in a wind down, which gives the acoustic guitar a chance to display the melody, and it slowly comes to an end. “Not Enough” starts with a metal guitar, and more shout singing, this one is much more like the Cows, it is fast and angry. After this band the singer did join Mickey from Ween to form the Moistboyz, which I’ve heard a little of, and this reminds me of that too. Perhaps it sounds a little like Motorhead too. “Criminal Kind” is a slowed down, “unplugged,” psych-ballad. The Sax is used here, and it comes off a little like something from Half-Japanese’s Charmed Life album. The stern vocals are spoken over the music, rather than shouted. “Iraq & Roll” picks up the melodic wailing guitars and aggressive singing, with shouts of “Do you wanna get high?” It ends very abruptly with the “chorus shouted one last time. “Home” begins with a catchy watery-guitar hook. The vocals come in after 50 sec, and are sung to the melody. There is a slight country swagger to the tempo, but it is a damn fine pop song. There is a clever start/stop breakdown by the entire band, and it picks back up with one last verse. The song is a lament for a girl to come back home. “X” takes us back to the metal side of things thanks to the lead guitar, but it is blended with a “Touch My Tooter” sounding guitar in the background. After a minute, the backing guitar is dropped and the song speeds forward for another minute. The background guitar becomes a soaring metal guitar here. But it slows back down, and the singer gives praise to ecstasy. Speeding back up, the back and forth pacing is finally neutralized by a compromise middle ground. At this tempo, the backing guitar clearly displays a great hook, which makes the song pretty damn good.

“Turn Down the Stretcher on the Swamp Key” starts side 2 with a dark staggering beat, decorated with slide guitar squeals. The watery-guitar is added, giving structure and melody to the song. The vocals feel something like a poor man’s Mike Patton, also a bit like Tod A from Cop Shoot Cop / Firewater. The slide and watery guitar make give the song a strong jam-band quality. “Curse of Eden” sounds like a continuation of the song, at a slightly different structure. The vocals are layered, and the rhythm guitar that provided the beat before is fuzzed out and is looped with a similarly dark beat. The vocals chant the word “curse,” which (predates, but) reminds me of Aqua Teen Hunger Force; where the mummy from the crawlspace repeatedly “curses” the gang. The chants end the song in a fuzzy fade out. “Cakes & Beer” is the longest track, but it sure doesn’t need to be. It is a this long drawn out psych-ballady groove. It feels a little warbly, like it is in a high stupor, ready to tip over and collapse at any second. It has dreamy wailing guitars, and for some reason, reminds me of Ugly Kid Joe. “Chooglin' the Mojo Spy” has a bass line that is consistent through out the song, and has a sort of spy theme to it. The vocals are again aggressively spoken over the random guitar playing, until it just kinda drops off at the end. “Maniac I, pt. 2” is a mix of speed and head banging metal. The vocals are again a bit like Mike Patton’s fastly sung vocals. And the song ends, as does the album with a declarative “Fuckers” well done!

The album is up and down, back and forth in excellence and tedium. Only a couple songs have greatness, as most of the album seems to be forgettable. But the good songs are very good, and have some great ideas and executions in them.

Stand-Out Track:Home

3 comments:

  1. Hey you should check out their album Dude. The first release on Shimmy Disc. good shit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anthony Lefaro re - recorded the bass on this album after George Altonin's original bass playing in 92. Griff (Chris Griffith) played Bass from 93-96. Vic Moist = Bill Fowler in Moistboyz

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anthony Lefaro re - recorded the bass on this album after George Altonin's original bass playing in 92. Griff (Chris Griffith) played Bass from 93-96. Vic Moist = Bill Fowler in Moistboyz

    ReplyDelete