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   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #230  (Vol. 5, No. 34)  This edition is for the week of August 16--22, 2004.
The Digital Divide by Terence Nuzum
LEDsCD REVIEWS    by Terence Nuzum
CDs are rated 1 to 5 LEDs

The Fiery FurnacesThe Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat

Five LEDs

Ever wished a band made a whole album of 18-minute mini-epics like The Who's "A Quick One While I'm Away"? Well you basically got it. Some reviewers seem to compare this album to that one Who song, yet to me it sounds nothing like The Who. In execution, yes. But this is so drastically different than anything you have ever heard before, comparisons don't even come into the fray. The closest would be Zappa's Uncle Meat or more specifically Lumpy Gravy. Of course, it's not as sophisticated as Frank's wacko operas. The Furnaces rely on toy organs, tambourines, 60's garage guitar rock, chessy Casio synths, all of which pop in and out during the songs faster than the speed of bad taste. That's what makes it great. The lyrics are genius playground romps involving pirates, lost dogs and police inspectors. "Chief Inspector Blancheflower" quickly speeds through a tale of a murderous farmer to the classic interlude:

"Well I rode up to Springfield on my motorcycle
And Iís gonna stay with my younger brother Michael.
Momís oxycontoins and the Amstel Light
But I noticed I was doing most of the talking that night.
So I got both remotes and turned off the DVD
And said Michael is there something that you need to say to me?
Well I donít know how to tell you.
You can tell me any
Thing that you want Ďcept I started seeing Jenny:
I started seeing Jenny.
My Jenny?
And he looked down at the floor.
You know damn well she ainít your Jenny no more.
And I said Get her on the phone.
Donít you think itís a little late?
No I donít think itís a little late.
But I went out the room cause I knew Iíd better wait
So I went down to her dadís bakery and she said
Iím gonna go outside take a break smoke a cigarette.
Iím still surprised at how mad you get.
Well whatíd you expecí?
That you wouldnít try to wreck your little brotherís happiness.
And I said Listen to you!
I know what youíre trying to do.
And what whould that be?
Mess with Michaelís head as some kind of revenge back at me.
--So I drove up to Springfield in my wifeís new car
And went and had a drink at my buddyís old bar."

Blueberry Boat is collage, prog, and indie all in one. The greatest collage album since Beck's Odelay. Except its way ahead of that by years. You may call me crazy but I think I have just heard the albumm of the year. 5 LEDS

Comets On FireComets On Fire: Blue Cathedral

Five LEDs

In my pasttime I have always tried to imagine what the MC5 would have sounded like if they had Hendrix's wah wah fuzz pedal mayhem, the psychedelic leanings of the Grateful Dead, and the motorcycle gang metal of Blue Cheer. OK, that wasn't my imagination; I was listening to Comets on Fire. You should, too. If the Fiery Furnaces were never born I would be worshipping this album. How can you resist Grateful Dead-esque organ instrumentals on one song followed up by Steppenwolf riding out of hell psychmetal? A: You can't. 5 LEDs

Rogue WaveRogue Wave: Out Of The Shadow

Four and a half LEDs

The Shins, it seems, have inspired a whole resurgence in carefully crafted pop albums like the kind XTC and R.E.M. used to make in the '80s. Rogue Wave has followed suit with an amazing collection of acoustic and lo-fi magic. "Nourishment Nation" is one of the catchiest songs that will never be played on the radio ever while "Falcon Settles Me" with the right hype could bring back the acoustic ballad that has been missing since the '70s, really. The great thing going for Rogue Wave that is the Shins' only fault is that, unlike the Shins, Rogue Wave has emotional depth and sense that the vocalist actually gives two shits about the emotion he's singing. Zach Rogue may go on to become the next Brian Wilson while The Shins may just end up being the robotic Kraftwerk of indie rock. The Shins need to man their battle stations because their competition has arrived. 4½ LEDs

The HivesThe Hives: Tyrannosaurus Hives

Four and a half LEDs

The Hives' last album made them famous, but no one really pretended that it was gonna be any better than a few months' worth of playtime. Their new album ups the ante and reinvents punk as sock-hop party music. The album opens with a New York Dolls-done-right raver called "Abra Cadaver" before going into "Two Timing Touch and Broken Bones" which sounds as cool as Franz Ferdinand and just as kick ass as The Standells' "Dirty Water". The hit "Walk Idiot Walk" doesn't suck, either! Can they do no wrong? Well, yeah a little. While they break their mold by playing new wave ravers, sock-hop doo-wop and even James Brown soul, by the end of the record it starts to wear thin; but how can you fault "No Pun Intended" which makes you yearn for when The Misfits were just a punk band and not a sideshow? And there is no denying that "See Through Head" is really the only argument for punk rock in the last 10 years. Buy it, you love them. 4½ LEDS

"The Digital Divide" is ©2004 by Terence Nuzum..  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.