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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Lettuce Prey
Jesus Christ Air Conditioner (Cassette Tape)

Chalk up another one for interesting band name puns. Certainly, Lettuce Prey would have gotten me to listen to their cassette EP simply on the name alone. And with a title like Jesus Christ Air Conditioner, I sort of envisioned this cassette tape to assault me with some wacked out synth or metal driven ska smorgasborg. I was pleasantly surprised that the songs are more of the acoustic folk persuasion. The principal (and only) band member, Mike Lenert, has been writing songs as Lettuce Prey for more than 15 years.

Overall, the tracks would probably be enjoyed most by proponents of lo-fi guitar heroes like Lou Barlow. The guitar playing on the tape often reminds me of his Sentridoh period and Lenert's voice is not too far removed from his style of singing as well. I'm not sure, but it seems like many of the songs use a dropped open tuning, perhaps in "C". This really gives the guitar a resonant and full sound, so that no other instruments are really necessary. One of the standout tracks on the cassette is "In Starlight", with it's slightly droning acoustic guitar strums. This sort of reminds me of a Rebecca Pearcy song, from that album with the flying fish on the cover.

"Why Sicryd" (perhaps better known as "Why She Cried") is a slow gorgeous acoustic number that could probably win the award for Most Instances Of The word "Translucent" In A Song. I feel like this number could have easily made an appearance on the Red House Painters "Songs For A Blue Guitar" album. Lenert's lyrics are very interesting, evoking imagery that is both weird and wonderful, though somtimes almost incongruous with his more standard folk leanings. As an example, "4004" wraps up the EP with more than one line about "red beak crazed canaries". This unusual wordplay makes the songs worth more than the casual listen. Very enjoyable material, and out on Monotone Recordings...

- review by RABBIT (6.11.04)        

Monotone Records
409 Martin Court
Leonardo, NJ 07737

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