Ah, Iwrestledabearonce, there is something about the name that suggests, and sometimes delivers, the second class post of novelty rock. And when you add that to the bands gurning mall-rat press photos and jokey song titles you know Lou Reed probably wouldn’t approve.
Still this is the bands third album and they seem to have a healthy online following, so if they are a novelty, then it’s an enduring one.
Who knew so many people were in the market for such an unusual musical experience?!! Imagine Frank Zappa conducting The Dillinger Escape Plan, playing the music of Nightwish and the Deftones all at once and you have an idea of the exotic thrills of “Late For Nothing”. Iwrestledabearonce come across as excitable musical prodigies who haven’t taken their medication and are desperate to impress the folks. Why play one song when you can fit three of wildly disparate styles into three minutes? Most songs contain ferocious death metal growling and achingly pretty, wistful swooning by new vocalist Courtney LaPlante along with industrial synths, nu metal riffs and assorted weirdness. LaPlante, who replaces Krysta Cameron continues the bands love affair with the slightly kooky but ethereal tones of Bjork and LaPlante‘s ability to jump between gorgeousness and gory is almost uncanny.
All this musical genre-hopping is kind of impressive, but exhausting. I don’t wish to sound like an old fuddy duddy but if the band were to tone down the showing off and create some more coherent and yes I’ll say it commercial sounding tunes then they would be onto a winner. Both ‘Boat Paddle’ and ‘The Map’, when they settle for a few minutes, are excellent, but still hiply eccentric numbers. ‘Mind The Gap’ is the one time the band calm down and the resultant mix of Garbage and Nine Inch Nails is almost casually epic, as if the band finding writing awesome, glacial alt-rock far too easy.
At the other end of the spectrum ‘Snake Charmer’ with it’s mix of Casio metal and blast beats is undeniably powerful stuff. And then there’s ‘Carnage Asada’ which is, well I don’t know what the fuck it is, but whatever it is it’s crazy like a desert fox on peyote.
It feels patronising and shallow to say that the band show promise, as they may well be more than happy with where their music is going. Many people may love what they do, and pity my desire for less complicated tunes. I take my hat off to you all, but if in the future the band chill out and write a stone cold classic alt-metal album I will be saying I told you so.