What level of jaded do you have to attain before bands’ earnest attempts to produce unpredictable and exciting music become in and of themselves dull? I don’t consider myself a snide hipster. Being a fan of Atombombpocketknife guitarist Justin Sinkovich’s old ensemble Thumbnail, I was pretty amped to get my grubby hams on this release. I noted album opener “A Room Full of Perfectly People”‘s use of odd time signatures with an obligatory, “My goodness, that sure is interesting.”
But then I completely tuned out.
I didn’t expect to tune out. Honestly. I mean, I got plenty of sleep last night, my relationship with my girlfriend is about as steady as it ever gets and I still love that good ol’ independent rock ‘n’ roll. But there comes a point when, if everything is odd, oddity becomes unremarkable. Once there are a respectable number of bands avoiding formal cliches, employing textural and compositional dissonance and writing lyrics with an artful and abstract ear, none of them become in the least bit surprising.
And that’s why I’m sort of annoyed with myself. This album is good. It’s as eminently competent and innovative as anything out there. It boasts the kind of clashing, fuzzed-out guitar work and prominent but dulled-out AmRep-sounding bass that I’ve always had a soft spot for. But only two tracks on God Save the ABPK really stuck with me: “Like a Laser,” with its ’60s pop overtones, and “Violet Encryptions (We Only Move Backwards),” with its gleeful mining of old Unwound records.
ABPK gets the last laugh, of course. My wandering attention stumbled onto GOLD, where I checked my academic history.
My scholastic performance is nothing, if not unpredictable.