Party Like It’s 1996
Like crushing up medicine and mixing it into a youngster’s applesauce, it sometimes takes a bit of sleight-of-hand to get one musical genre close to listeners’ ears. Outside of Nine Inch Nails and the most aggro entries in the Prodigy and Chemical Brothers catalogs, industrial music has had a rough time even on the widened playing field of the 1990s and 2000s. On their debut LP Break Out the Battle Tapes Wired All Wrong’s master plan is a simple one: Sneak it into scene-pop.Wired All Wrong merges Matt Mahaffey’s enthusiastic songwriting (first heard in his sampledelic outfit Self) with Jeff Turzo’s dark poptronics (developed during his time with God Lives Underwater). First single “Elevatin'” reflects the entire album: glitched guitars, rapid-fire coulda-been-glitched lyrics, and the occasional Prince-like harmony passing by so quickly that a few consecutive enjoyable listens to it equals one listen to anything else. Tracks like “Nothing at All” and “Make a Fool” further cement their ability to move the music of Panic! at the Disco to the disco.
The duo owes a debt of gratitude to other lost and failed industrial rockers like Gravity Kills and Filter; except for “Lost Angeles” and the rap-riddled “You’re Freakin’ Me Out Girl” WAW largely avoids their bear pits of pretentiousness. Songs like “15 Minutes” point to the album’s strength, in that it is neither as depressive or oppressive as its roots would suggest. While the end results will likely be remembered as all sizzle and no steak — or forgotten altogether — to its credit Break Out the Battle Tapes is right here, right now.