A Plague on Both Your Ears
Reading the artist bio on record label Sonic Boomâ€šÃ„Ã´s Web site for The Jade Shader, and then listening to the groupâ€šÃ„Ã´s latest release, Curse of the Tuatara, makes one wonder if there is some kind of lame practical joke being played. Promotional materials are meant to be exaggeratory, full of flowery phrases no one would ever actually say aloud, but rarely is the chasm between advertisement and reality quite so wide. Curse of the Tuatara is a seven-song EP, clocking in at just over twenty minutes. Most songs are under three minutes, and the listener is grateful. According to the bio, the music is the result of combining a wide range of influences, including â€šÃ„ÃºSan Diegoâ€šÃ„Ã´s punk lineage, obscure 70â€šÃ„Ã´s rock, 20th century minimalism, modal jazz explorations, sources as old as Baroque harpsichord music and as futuristic as the sonic experiments of indie rock and beyond.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Bear this bizarre list in mind.
The first track, â€šÃ„ÃºMinnesota,â€šÃ„Ã¹ is promising. Relaxed and melodic with lyrics about apathy, the tempo and bored vocals are almost soothing. This provides the first and last enjoyable experience of the EP. Tuataraâ€šÃ„Ã´s overall style is apathy rock. Whether the songs be slow or fast the band seems to find playing them as uninteresting as it is to hear them. Blocky, uninspired guitar riffs dominate each indistinguishably dull track while vocalists Terrin Durfey and Chris Prescott strive to infuse the sound with emotion by straining to emit a more forceful nasal whine.
The bio ends with a few lines best narrated by a mysterious pirate, inviting the listener to â€šÃ„Ãºsink further down and who knows what youâ€šÃ„Ã´ll find deep in the depths? There are mysteries there that donâ€šÃ„Ã´t have explanations. Ask the people at Loch Ness. Or better yet, take a listen for yourself.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Or better yet, donâ€šÃ„Ã´t.