lunedì 2 agosto 2010

Brassy "Gettin Wise"



Capitolo numero due per la sorellina dello Spencer e a me continua a non dispiacere il grande minestrone sonoro. Disco estivo. (2003 Wiiija)

Forti del successo del singolo Play Some D (2003), il secondo album dei Brassy Gettin' Wise (Beggars Group, 2003) funzionava meglio nel registro di certo funk irritabile e punkeggiante. Riff hard-rock e toni sarcastici reggono Hit 'em Hard e So Long Baby, e, siccome i Brassy non sono i Public Enemy, queste tracce mostrano energia sufficiente a farsi distinguere dalla dance muzak di sottofondo. La voce della Spencer è diventata più caratteristica, e i suoi sproloqui (1-0-0, Feeling Sorry) spesso reggono le melodie noncuranti della musica. Ci sono tributi alle radici(il suono funk classico di Mine, il call-and-response di coro soul e rap capeggia in Gettin' Wise). Ci sono esperimenti sul ritmo (Still Stealing) e alcune novelties(Where Did You Get That Funk?). Forse il pezzo più avventuroso è Dus', un carnevale di effetti sonori e scratching (inventivo e propulsivo quasi quanto i Sugarsmack). (Piero Scaruffi - http://www.scaruffi.com/)

If archeologists were to one day peruse the voluminous crates of Brassy reviews over the last three years, they would uncover a lot of first sentences that tell readers how vocalist Muffin is Jon Spencer's sister. It's true that we reviewers are lethargic cretins opposed to thinking of actual criticisms, but the real reason everyone's compelled to state this relationship is that Muffin has so little going for her, it just seems like we can give her a reprieve by bringing someone else into the review for a minute. It's like that old "how would it feel to be Jesus' sibling?" joke. Of course, Jon Spencer is barely the Son of Pussy Galore, let alone God. Suffice to say, when Jesus rolls out his blues explosion, you better all be packing heat.
As for Brassy, well, put it like this: If you are Brassy, please don't read the rest of this review. It's rarely a good sign when the best track on an album is a 30-second sample of some 50s pop standard. Anyone who's ever heard a 50s pop standard knows that could not possibly be a compliment of anything on this CD. Anything that was obliquely, lingeringly entertaining about 2000's Got It Made is thrown on the ground here, disparaged, defiled, and left for dead. It is admittedly significantly more hip-hop-inspired than its predecessor's cauldron of spaz-pop, echo chambers, creepy psychopathic narcissism, and lyrics that all but defined the word "stoopid." This is not saying much. Lest the genre of hip-hop is at all familiar to you, let it quickly be noted that the hip-hop inflections here are the same ones present on Limp Bizkit's newest album. I doubt there's a more incompetent DJ in the entire western hemisphere than DJ Swett. His contribution to his own band's songs is tantamount to what DJ Shadow contributes to the average Tito Puente album: effectively nothing.
To dispel with the task at hand in the most harmless way possible: "Hit 'Em Hard", "Mine", "Feeling Sorry", "Dus'", and "Where Did You Get That Funk?", and, okay, almost every other song on this album, all have some cliched wah-wahing funk guitar that's kind of interesting in its absurd banality until it becomes apparent that there's usually nothing else accompanying them-- for, on average, four minutes straight of our lives. Occasionally, pop/punk guitar bursts will punctuate the meandering attempts at making people "hit 'em hard" or "shake the boogie to the bang bang boogie" (yes, this is actually repeated in a song) or "still stealin' when we come to the stage" or whatever other nonsensical stream-of-boredom choruses get tossed into the mix. The most unique offering is "1-0-0" and this is primarily because it centers itself around a two-note keyboard line and mindless reverbed vocals that, maybe, grasp at some sort of jazz singing amidst the typical Jon Spencer-style egomania, smugness, and vain disco-rapping. For some point of comparison in terms of sheer pillaging, uniformity, and tedium, I'm going to go with that Jamiroquai song off the Godzilla soundtrack, except I at least liked the bass on that song the first few times I heard it.
In the aim of balance, it can be claimed that "Mine"'s beat is sort of fascinating in the same way tumbling kitchenware is. Kettles, ambience, radio static, and studio echoing permeates a lot of the mixes, but they're superfluous layers done better elsewhere. The lyric about "my unfettered flow" was briefly amusing. Poor imitations of trip-hop are distributed through a handful of tracks seemingly only to ensure listeners know this group can hollowly duplicate a few more sounds. And to quietly appreciate aspects of one song, "Still Stealing" has a guitar riff as dismembered and discombobulating as P. Diddy's "Bad Boy for Life". Whether you think these aspects are enough to warrant interest in this album is up to you. But they shouldn't be. Perhaps if you're really into dancing, to the neglect of all intelligence and taste, you could find one or two songs to enjoy here. For the rest of us, let's forget this whole family and move on with our lives. (Alex Linhardt - http://pitchfork.com/)

Got it Made is pretty good at first but after a while it gets to be redundant, too many "oh yeahs" and "uh huhs" plus a front woman who had obviously not fallen far from the family tree. That's ok, because even John Spencer has a hard time geting out from under his own shadow. So what's up with Gettin Wise? Well, besides the fact that it sounds like the title of a Beastie Boys record that never came out in the 90's, not much. The music is tight enough but the vocals are still oversaturated in the nasal sounding old style of 20's era jazz which can be intersting in moderation but can easily become irritating after a short while, especially when combined with hip hop style cockiness for the lenght of an album. Where Did You Get That Funk? Come on, it's 2003. If you really think you can write a song withthe word "funk" in the title you're going to have to step it up a notch or two, but really isn't that a bit tired. Some of the the tracks are still promising, but most of those are because you can almost squint your ears and hear big brother doing them. The best bit of the cd is Swett's Muse, and it's only 120 seconds long with no vocals. Gettin Wise was due for an uphill struggle once the novelty of Got it Made wore off, and ultimately it doesn't cut it. Slick and boring, eventually annoying. (Kilwag - http://skateandannoy.com/)

- Hit 'Em Hard
- 1-0-0
- Mine
- Nobody Cheers Me
- Feeling Sorry
- Still Stealing
- Dus'
- Where Did You Get That Funk?
- Swett's Muse
- Gettin Wise
- So Long Baby
- Everything You Need
- Turn This Thing Up
- Good Place


BRASSY

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