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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).

L.A. Tool And Die
Fashion For The Evildoer (CD)

I just really couldn't get into this album, though I admit L.A. Tool and Die have got their hearts in all the right places. Energetic and fun stuff. With keyboards plucked from the 80s and an actual honest to god bassoon player filling out the ranks, I thought I might be more into this. I think the kitschy-ness of the vocals and some of the songs just got to me. Vocal style reminds me sometimes of Ween, Sugarplastic, Moxy Fruvous but it's just a little too over the top for me, a little too earnest or blustery. Instrumentation is pretty superb on this album though, and why not since the band has classically trained musicians in it. Though, I'd be careful about advertising that fact; in this case the talent matches up well with the description. But it can set a band up for failure if it puts the listener on the alert looking for classical references or whatever.

Songs like the cover of Sparks' "Eaten By The Monster Of Love" sound like they're taken straight off that indie Schoolhouse Rock album. Super goofy! "1983" is not kidding around... it IS the 80s. Never surrender indeed. I wouldn't hesitate to call them the masters of the obsolete, except, we're 20 years away from the eighties right now so it's well overdue for a resurgence. Ok, I couldn't help liking "The Bunny Song", it's just too fun and triangularly bloopy with bassoon and synths. Strange, for me I seemed to like the last half of the disc more than the first. Not sure if that's because my body was getting acclimated after that long climb up those Kitsch-Retro mountains. And indeed, "Dragon's Lair WAS my best friend", at least for those 2 hours at Lake Tahoe where I electrostatically carpet-shocked that particular game console into giving me 99 free credits....

- review by SHORTY (7.21.04)        

AAJ Records
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Charlotte, NC 28224

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