Welcome to America’s longest awaited update! I’m sure that you’ll find the results comparable to the unlocking of Al Capone’s vault or the ending of a movie where you find out that everyone is the same person.
You may have noticed that in addition to rare updates, this blog seems to contain an overwhelming amount of Homestead Records releases. I’ve decided to include yet another one, not because of some sort of plan, but out of sheer sloppiness of choice. I’m treating this blog like I’m its crappy, dead-beat father.
The Taller You Are, The Shorter You Get is pretty much an album for huge losers (dead-beat dads? Sadly, no). Unlike that Thinking Fellers Union album I reviewed (more than a year ago!), this album isn’t very ridiculous and makes a lot of sense- ADULT SENSE. It’s filled with songs about being disappointed, moody, kind of an asshole, and pathetic- feelings that no mere teenager could experience. Man, do I want to make more dead-beat dad jokes, but the more I think about it the less I know what it really means, except that it’s probably a person that gets drunk and has a lot of fun all the time, but, unfortunately, has a dumb child. Joke’s on you- there are no regretful songs about having children on this album.
You can hear a lot of Joy Division influence on this, but with better, nerdier vocals, less reverb, and less kind-of-boring songs that you think you’re supposed to like because you’ve been told to. Part of this is likely due to the (maybe?) use of a drum machine- some of the tracks have murky production that makes it a little hard to tell if there’s a real drummer or not. It’s waaaaaaay more honest than most of that mysterious-ass post-punk stuff too! There’s a song about driving really far away after a failed relationship (“Seven Years”), a song about having more problems than friends (“Too Far Gone”), and a song that’s a mild apology for being grumpy (“The Only One”)! I guess that sounds kind of depressing, and it totally is, but it can rock pretty hard, too- see the middle riffin’ part of “Planes Crashing.” YOU WILL NEVER FEEL THIS GREAT ABOUT BEING BUMMED OUT (you might- there’s got to be some midpoint that exists between the mood swings of a manic depressive. Please comment on this!)
One of the best things about TTYATSYG (that’s what the teens call it these days) is that it’s long as shit! AND it doesn’t seem like it! AND NO TEENS ACTUALLY CALL IT THAT- THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS! The CD version is 72 minutes long, and the double vinyl has an extra song and a pretty neat intro to “World on a String” that puts it at 83 minutes. It’s a worthwhile commitment, like making a really good financial investment or driving really far out of your way to eat at a Golden Corral.
I feel like I just made a long string of crappy jokes (fishing for comments, here) and don’t have much more to say about this. It’s been a while. If you like this, though, they (meaning basically the one guy that the band is, Mark Edwards) also have a really great, less depressing, cleaner 90s album, “For Richer, For Poorer,” that definitely contains real drums. You should check that one out, too. The nice thing about this one though, is that it’s posted on the My Dad is Dead website for free!
To kill your dad, so that he may also be dead, just click this link to the page with the full (CD version) album:
After insisting that everyone in 1980s Chicago did not, in fact, use the same drum machine, along comes Breaking Circus’s first EP to taint my credibility, yet again. The Roland TR-606 makes another appearance in the Midwest noise rock scene, leading me to believe that either everyone thought it sounded really sweet or was too lazy to find a reasonable drummer. Although I like the sound quite a bit when applied to those bands, it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult to not just say “sounds like Big Black!” immediately upon hearing this record. Well, I’m here to prove to you that Breaking Circus does not sound exactly like Big Black, but brings a much more melodic, yet MANLY SOUNDING (you’re relieved, right?) set of songs on The Very Long Fuse.
I say manly sounding, because this definitely has that sing-speak “I’m a steelworker, I kill what I eat” Chicago thing going on, and I hate anyone with feelings. However, there’s a little bit more than that occurring here, as evident in the second track, “(Knife in the) Marathon,” which seems to be fairly heartfelt, incorporates what seems to be an acoustic guitar, and according to the moderately deceitful Wikipedia, somewhat of a college radio hit. This is immediately followed by the atmospheric, keyboard-heavy “Lady in the Lake,” which stands out mostly due that, because the vocals are still in that manly speakin’ thing! Amazing.
These two tracks are the most extreme departures from what you would expect from an album with cover work by Steve Albini, but that’s not to say some of these mechanics aren’t worked into the other, more (Chicago) punky sounding songs. I’d like to say more, but I think I’ve said “Chicago punk” and “manly” far too many times already, but if you’re into that sort of thing, The Very Long Fuse is very (LOL) worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to BLOW YOUR MIND, unless your mind is blown by something being unexpectedly enjoyable.
SIDE NOTE: I have two full lengths on deck in my mind to review next, so my next two updates (at least) shouldn’t take eight years to be posted like this one.
Break your circus all over the place with this link: