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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).

Alpine Static (CD)

The only thing I'd heard about the band Kinski before this review was that they were extremely loud and unabashedly thrash heavy. This was certainly apparent right out of the gate. I put their new CD Alpine Static on and immediately had to lower the volume. About halfway through the first song, I had to take it out. It was just too much jaw-wrenching hardcore for me.

Then, today, I heard one of their songs on KCRW. At least I'm pretty sure it was one of their songs. I relented a bit after that and decided to give it another shot. After all if softie KCRW can play Kinski then so can I.

This time around the CD fared no better, at least in the beginning. I think it's just that first track "Hot Stenographer" is extremely long, and extremely annoying in its insistence on sludge. Not such a great name too. Did I mention that there are pretty much no vocals at all? At least give me some good old fashioned Mildred Pierce Sonic Youth yelling along with it. No such luck.

There used to be this band called "Slug" that they played on a local college station. Slug was known for this one song, I think it was about 20 minutes long or so that featured ONE chord. No singing. One chord played over and over again. Kinski manages to duplicate this in the last minute of their first song. Except they are playing a C instead of an E flat or whatever.

While I couldn't take that first track, the second track "The Wives Of Artie Shaw" was at least interesting in a "Catholic Block" way. You'll forgive me here; I have almost no musical training in the dark arts of hardcore thrash, so I don't know what to compare this too. Sonic Youth mixed with Tortoise is probably the closest I can get to a description. I just wish they had some sort of singing in the songs, any kind. Screaming would be fine. Anything to latch onto and show me that it's not just emotionless noise.

"The Party Which You Will Know Will Be Heavy" starts out promisingly before descending into a maelstrom of distortion. Then near the middle they completely stop and just start wonking randomly on guitars and bass. Strange, to say the least. The quieter moments of this song with chiming guitars was pretty cool. I would dig a CD just made up of those moments.

Near the end of "Passed Out On Your Lawn" I started to feel extremely sorry for Kinski's neighbors. Burning hard distortion on this one, but that dissolves into some strange, monk-like Bruce Licher interlude. "All Your Kids Have Turned To Static" was surprisingly delicate. No distortion on this track at all. Barely any playing for that matter.

"Edge Set" finds them back on that familiar C chord: Chunka-chunk - chunk-chunk, B flat, D and back again. Slightly more catchy I guess than plain C. I need to mention that one thing they do extremely well on all their louder stuff is create this forceful instrument density. It literally hits you like a brick wall slathered in pea soup.

But "Waka Nusa" ends things with what sounds almost like a Red House Painters song. Just what I needed too soothe the big headache brought about with the louder songs. I'm sorta torn because I could go for more of their softer stuff. While the attack-and-roll that Kinski plays may be exhilarating for some I just can't deal with the heavier smashings.

- review by BY (8.1.05)        

Sub Pop Records
2514 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

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