Day 227: Bygones – by-

13 Oct

Cold Reading

Is it just me, or does that album cover look suspiciously like it was created in Microsoft Paint.  I’m not surprised, though, because by- also sounds like it was recorded and produced in Microsoft Paint.

That’s not just the 128kbs version of it that I listened to, either.  Yes, the audio quality is pretty low, but there’s definitely something off with the mix as well.  First of all, music like this needs to really fill the speakers to be effective (we’ll talk about why later), but by- just sounds faded and a bit washed out.  Various levels are off as well, with vocals taking a much too prominent stance throughout the album.

This is a noise rock record.  Lyrics don’t matter.  As anyone who’s listened to an acclaimed noise album, or perhaps been to a Lightning Bolt show knows, this genre is all about the angry, fast, mean, slicing, distorted, feedback-heavy, monstrous, bullying, psychotic, unpatriotic guitar, and much less so about the vocals.  Yet, during most songs on by-, the vocals completely overshadow the six strings of death.  This would be one thing if guitarist/“singer” Nick Reinhart were shouting decipherable words, but he ain’t—they’ve still got the standard noise-rock blur to them.  If we can’t even understand what you’re saying, chill it out.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where the vocals are on this record.  I’ve found out again and again (thanks partially to the Swole) that noise is not my genre of choice.  It all pretty much sounds the same to me, which I guess tells you something about my entry-level ears.   If liking an album that sounds as if it is being played through 1,000 drive-thru speakers is what will make me sophisticated, than I’m fine as I pleb, thank you very much.


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