Pin Up-Went Down – 2K Unlimited – 4/5
If ever an album was created with the sole purpose to confuse, baffle, bemuse, and test the very limits as to what an open minded individual can accept, then this is the most successful album at doing so that at least I’ve ever heard. I would describe the core sound, prevalent in many of the tracks, the weirdest combination of pop and death metal, despite the operatic vocals, jazz interludes, gothic atmospheres, progressive stylings, funky riffs, electronic synth intro’s, the occasional folky sounding section, and more. In fact, one track consists entirely of beat-boxing to death metal growls, a highly unusual concept which somehow works. So this hopefully gives you some idea precisely how open-minded you need to be to enjoy this.
All of the instrument parts are written by one of the men responsible for the creation of carnival in coal (A band I was impressed with in the past), as well as taking over the male vocals, though the female vocals seem to have been given a larger presence at most spots. Not that this is in any way a bad thing. Indeed, she quickly proves her versatility and talent many times over, from the pop song “pussy worship,” akin to the sort of thing you’d expect the likes of Gwen Stefani to come up with, taking a satirical approach to sex, to the likes of “Nearly Dead Bat Make Up” where she takes a squeaky high pitch approach, before going into her more pop-vocals, the deeper swaggering sounds in “Get Ready to Sweep,” or even the operatic vocals sprinkled in a couple of the songs. But if her versatility is impressive, even more astounding is that in each case she pulls it off wonderfully in each and every case. Whilst perhaps not top flight in any one, she can easily surpass the majority. And all of these vocals are matched by the combination of male heavy/power vocals, and the more deathly growls. It is this incredibly diversity that leads to a lot of the interest.
Though let’s not knock the instrumental work. Whilst there is nothing particularly flashy, no grandiose solo’s, the tone and atmosphere created, especially the transitions between the funkier sections and the deeper and more aggressive passages work seamlessly at creating a beautiful backing atmosphere to build and layer upon. Even the gratuitous use of electronic work, which I must confess I’m not usually a fan of, seems to have been performed tastefully and well. This is by all rights, an album which should be an abomination, a hideous clash of too many genres in too short a space of time, resulting in an ugly monster of an album, rearing its ugly head and sounding frustratingly confusing as it transitions from death metal to pop, to a jazz breakdown with electronic, etc, etc, but its not. In fact, its often fairly slow paced, addictive, catchy, and filled with atmospheric sounds most bands would strive for. At no point does it feel rushed, does a track go on too long, or does it feel like they’ve tried to cram too many genres in its short (42mins) length. It comes off almost as natural as if you were listening to straight up thrash or power, with mainly that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that hearing death metal growls to a track filled with funky riffs and pop vocals is more than a little unusual.
This album is highly inaccessible. If you prefer to stick to a small niche of music, then remove a point from the rating. If you excel and revel in the bizarre, add a point.
Highlights: Nearly Dead Bat Make-Up, Get Ready to Sweep, Only Some Shitty Chemical Stuff.
By T. Bawden