"Wow. After taking a listen to this album I am a little bit dizzy and feel like I've been bludgeoned to death five times over. This is not Phil Collins, and this is not James Taylor. There is no easy listening here. Name's Facebook page states the following credo, "Repetition is the death of art... Tradition is the enemy of progress." Internet Killed the Audio Star is a strikingly bold debut manifesto by a band that is not only ambitious, but able enough to deliver on those high-minded goals.
The top two reasons that I'll write a negative review for an album are that the artist doesn't seem to have any passion for what they're doing and that the artist doesn't challenge their abilities. Name will not get a negative review from me. Name is amazing in that they constantly challenge not only themselves but the listener, and they are all passion. I will be honest. I don't like music that consists of a singer just screaming maniacally over squealing guitars with double kick drums spewing out 64th notes all the time. It seems to me to be a sonically limited muse to follow. On first listen, I thought that's the kind of band I was dealing with here, but I learned quickly that although there is a lot of that, Name is so much more.
Check out the song "Mare." There are great angular guitar lines peering out from underneath the screaming at the beginning. Then it turns into a poppy ditty, then into a bluesy swing. "The Sycophant, The Saint & The Gamefox" begins with jazzy cymbal riding and guitar noodling. These people are not butchers, but are instead one of the most boundlessly versatile bands I've heard.
There are a couple things that I love about this album. First off, there are the song titles. You've got to love a band that entitles their songs, "My Sweetheart, the Whore" and "Killer Whales, Man." Also, the fact that they named their four-part mid-album suite "Empathic Communicator" when I couldn't understand five lines of lyrics on the whole album was amusing to me. Secondly, unlike most music that sticks very well to a chord progression repeated over and over with maybe a bridge thrown in to add some variety, this band seemingly doesn't repeat itself at all. It's as if they're just taking two minute long snippets of music they've created and pieced them together to create a "song." Very prog. Very good! Finally, there is a mellow jazzy instrumental near the end called "You'll Never Die in This Town Again" which is a much needed break in the intensity-fest that is this album.
The major qualm I have with this album is that it is too long. I cannot listen to this album in one sitting. It is 79 minutes long. Especially with all the brutality and violence that it brings to the ears, I can only listen to about ? of it until I just have to turn it off and go to sunnier music. In fact, I can't say that I really like more than half of the music on the disc. It reminds me of My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab in that way. I can't take long stretches of their music, but they have a definite creative vision and stick to it. And I absolutely respect Name for their vision. I just hope that they never lose their creative restlessness or energy. Name is a band that aims to shake up the stagnant nature of commercial music. If this album reaches a lot of ears, they just may do it.
4 out of 4 stars"