Hocus Pocus

Touch & Go

he Power Of Yawning" is the reason why I still have faith in myself to be a successful songwriter, I think. This is a pastiche of Ray Davies and blazing strut, start-and-stop slack-jawed anger boiling over every so often while that strangled guitar pops into Telecastered fuzz and John Schemersal moans about some old shit. It’s not terribly interesting on the surface as it’s taken apart by section: subdued guitar here, bass solo here, high-hat ride, crazy guitar solo, etc. Actually, that’s not why I love my guitar at all: it’s because I hear what’s missing. Where the fuck is that wailing guitar solo after his drawl, leaving big old holes of sound waiting to be colored in by me.

Hocus Pocus is comprised mostly of fleeting moments of brilliance where it all just coalesces for a moment, and then returns to its MOR state of undeveloped garbage. So if it all magically becomes great every so often, I can do that too, right? Or how about when I hear what they’re doing wrong—that helps, surely! It’s so easy to get caught up in a mess of guitar, as in "Yawning," and pretend that the next song, by chopping momentum in half, is actually the right move. I’ll be a rockstar one day! I promise!

Conversely, Enon make me want to shoot myself in my head whenever I listen to "Disposable Parts," off of their previous album High Society. I will never ever write anything this good and that sucks—I’d never have thought of a vocoder or whistles and bass, so I’ll steal the drumbeat instead and cobble together some "urgent dance-punk" and cry myself to sleep because I suck and this guy, this fucking New York loser who thought he was cool when he was nineteen because he listened to Echo and the Bunnymen, can write great songs while I write retarded reviews for Gaylus Magatard.

Most of the other songs trudge along with occasional electronic flourishes to try to make the sound anemically quirky—you know, they could just give us some fat Halen keyboard, but that’d be too much, I suppose, for an aggressively "offbeat" group. But it’s no coincidence I like the first two songs best: quirky melodies wear out quickly, especially if there’s nothing else but strands of songs underneath, and if the hooks are all the same. Which they are. The bassist, though, is this hot Japanese girl, and whenever she pops in, she can fall back on her heavily-tempered accent, cooing breathlessly with an air of indulgence. Bollocks! She’s just too damn bored to write the songs!

Just like I’m too bothered to give this any time. It all sounds the same and basically bores me. Worst of all it makes me think I have to learn MIDI processing to write good songs. Please, Matt, don't tell me it's time to put the guitar away and hit them books. What am I but a discontented youth who wants to rock?

Reviewed by: Sam Bloch
Reviewed on: 2004-03-03
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