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Friday, July 28, 2006

Ian Curtis the Femme - She Wants Revenge 

I heard the song again this morning on KROQ, and finally decided to figure out who sang it.

Why? Because I'm intrigued by music, and this song is intruiging. While I love the acoustic bluegrass, and I love the dense electronica, I also love the sparse songs that have a little mixture of both.

This particular song hits the minimal synthetica spot. Any time you can combine "three chord" and "Casio" in the same description, you know that you're dealing with a particular genre of music that I'd like to mine myself at one point. (Granted I'd throw in the hip-hop rhythms too, but it should still be an interesting mix.)

In this case I couldn't help listening to parts of the vocals either. For me the great part isn't the way the chorus ends (love is hate), but how the chorus begins - for me, it's just great to hear these cliches delivered in a harsh monotone.

So I did a Google search for the twin phrases "hold you close" and "tear you apart," and discovered that the song is called "Tear You Apart" and is by She Wants Revenge. (Can't imagine why.)

Here's a description of the band from their website:

[A] solitary figure steps onto the darkened stage and makes his way toward a wall of machines and takes a seat. The crowd erupts, then slowly the cheering fades in the distance as an anticipation that could only be described as electric takes hold.

A beat begins - minimal, sparse. A single white beam appears and backlights the man as if right on cue. He wrestles the controls of the machine sitting atop his lap while twisting the knobs of another, and suddenly a bass note pulses and throbs.

Just as we begin to lose ourselves in the hypnotic drone, another figure emerges from the side of the stage; black-clad and hooded he walks swiftly to his amp, flips a switch, removes his guitar from the stand, slings it over his shoulder, and walks center stage.

The two men exchange a glance, and with that, the singer spits out his cigarette and kicks on a foot switch, drowning himself in white light as he stares down the microphone and begins to attack the guitar like his life depends on it.

What could either be hours or minutes later, the kraut-rock intro turns to verse and the crowd begins to sing along: "Sick of trying to find a way inside, sick and tired of all the after." And just about this time a peculiar thing starts to happen, almost viral as it begins to take over the onlookers one by one. People begin to move. These movements take shape, and soon, people are dancing. In fact, the whole crowd is dancing.

And suddenly we are saved. Saved from the legions of samey-sameson throwback bands, saved from another night of being too hip to dance, and saved from ourselves.

She Wants Revenge has come to save us all.

Meanwhile, Gigwise is trying to figure out how She Wants Revenge is derivative (confession: I am not familiar with the work of Interpol):

She Wants Revenge sound like Interpol to such a degree it’s almost as if they’re pastiching the gloomy-rockers. We need to investigate this further… Ah, our reseach uncovers that singer Justin Warfield’s previous incarnation was as a rapper, who released a Prince Paul-produced Daisy-Age rip-off album in 1993. Hmmmmm, interesting. Certainly, whilst Warfield may just be hitching onto another bandwagon that left the ranch some time ago, his monotone, rap-esque delivery of a tale of twisted teenage obsession hints at a dryness of humour which wouldn’t be out of place in the Nevada desert. As Interpol could be accused of pastiching Joy Division themselves, does this then make 'She Wants Revenge' post-post-modern? Er, it’s all getting rather complicated - and, let’s face it, the kids won’t get it anyways – so it’s time to admit that, in a somewhat unlikely turn of events, we’re actually quite partial to the dead-pan charms of 'Tear You Apart' (another subtle clue there, wethinks)....

Me don't think. Granted that I've only heard the one song by She Wants Revenge, but it really doesn't sound like the much lusher "Love Will Tear Us Apart." (Exercise: listen to the short version of Joy Division's "Substance." Then listen to New Order's "Substance." They flow together like a natural progression - or regression, in terms of vocal abilities.)

Frankly, "Tear You Apart" sounds more like a synthetic Violent Femmes. At least that's what I think. Tucson Weekly looks at it slightly differently:

It's been written that She Wants Revenge, the duo's remarkable debut CD--released Jan. 31 on the Geffen-connected label Flawless Records--invites comparisons to contemporary neo-post-punk acts as Interpol (OK, that's fair), as well as lesser acts The Killers and The Bravery.

Actually, Warfield and Bravin are invoking the spirits of the same acts that inspired those contemporary groups: Joy Division, David Bowie's collaborations with Brian Eno, early Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and Pornography-era The Cure....

In the Sheffield Rock Times piece, Warfield said, "Our music is a modern extension of a time in the late '70s and early '80s when music was colliding in ways it never had before. We're talking about New Order hearing what Arthur Baker and (Afrika) Bambaataa were doing in New York and what was going on with Chicago house, then taking that back to the U.K. and incorporating that into their dark Northern view of punk rock."...

But this is intruguing (emphasis mine):

tear you apart has been #1 on la’s kroq radio for 14 weeks the track has been remixed by tiga and ladytron.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

I tried to find a way to leave a comment without you knowing who left it but realized that would be dishonest and cowerdly. So here goes ...

"You actually listen to that c__p?"

There now I feel better.

Still love you OE.
Thanks for the love.

I probably wouldn't buy that particular song, and I have some serious problems with Depeche Mode's "John the Revelator" (see here). But I'll listen to the electronic stuff on occasion.

If someone produces a techno remix of Bill Monroe, I'll check it out. :)
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