Mark Ward’s review of “Landing” by Githead


Band: Githead

Album: Landing

Critic: Mark Ward

Publication: Drowned in Sound, 2009

Writing Disorders: Jargon Palsy, Idea Fever

Most Emo Phrase: “a trip down the autobahn that never actually gets anywhere”

Critic Jargon: “art-punk heroes,” “intellectual electronica circles,” “brutal live incarnation”




Mark, this is one of the most confusing reviews I’ve ever read. Half the problem was the sloppy, flowery writing. The other half was that you crammed it to the brim with intricate back stories of every member of this band, Githead. Let’s tackle the sloppy writing first. Look at the tail end of this sentence:


“What was immediately noticeable about Githead when they played their first live shows in mid-2004 was how appealingly if appallingly amateurish they were”


Lions and tigers and adverbs, OH MY! Mark, writing three modifiers starting with the letter “A” in rapid succession is like…


I don’t even know. It’s bad. But it’s not quite as bad as writing three whole paragraphs of the band’s complicated history before you even mention the most recent release. Hell, you even acknowledge how arduous the first half of your review is:


“All of which brings us to 2009 and the arrival of Githead’s third album”


Do you know how many words it took you to reach first mention of the album you’re supposed to be reviewing, Mark? 311. That’s an obscene introduction. Bands do have interesting background stories. But unless you’re writing a 2,000-word feature, you really could profit from condensing the exposition so your Internet audience might consider reading past the first paragraph…


…or has enough of a handle on your writing to even try. Unfortunately for us, you wrote the review in such a way that understanding your opinion of Landing hinges on a working knowledge of Githead’s entire back catalog, side projects, and marital relations. Even if I chose to skip the 311 words of fat to get to the meat of the review, I’d still need the fat to know what the meat means. Case in point:


Landing builds on the template set out by Profile and Art Pop…The trouble is, it doesn’t come a year after Send – it comes a year after Object 47. And Object 47 follows that same template.”


So, A+B=C, understanding that D<C<E? Don’t you think it’s a lot to ask that we keep mental tabs on the no less than six albums you’ve so far mentioned? You’re not writing an anthology. You’re writing a review of ONE album. Save all the confusing italics for when you write the definitive retrospective on the band.


Yet, the worst part of this whole chore was realizing that at the end of all the labyrinthine prose was nothing but this conclusion:


“a well-made bit of fun, but it’s no more than that”


That’s it? It took 600 words of dense, nearly unreadable jargon just to conclude that this album is fun and well-made? Well, I’m happy to say that it took me nearly 200 fewer words to say that your review isn’t either one of those, Mark.