Album: Odd Blood
Critic: Conrad Amenta
Publication: Cokemachineglow, 2010
Writing Disorders: Scorn Disease, Idea Fever, Jargon Palsy
Stuffiest Phrase: “a well attuned if hypertrophied sense of style”
Unintended Irony: “it can’t help but come across as unintentionally absurd”
A week after discovering your existence, Conrad, I’m still struggling to understand why you write the way you do. Read this sentence:
“Worse, this desperate paternalism is exploded sonically to nth realms of crass pretension, cramming every last space with splurges of computer-generated excess that mostly belie a lack of vision or forethought; the band are, in the parlance of staidly academic critics, wanking.”
I’m sure there’s a good chance that if I point to your own pretension and excess, you’ll just say it was all for the irony. So instead of going down that road, let me add some of my own irony to the pot. You see, the most fascinating thing I unearthed about you is that you actually play an instrument. I’m assuming you’re Conrad Amenta, drummer for the Canadian band Books on Books. If you are, you’ve got skill behind a drum set — I listened to the tracks up on MySpace. But what I can’t understand is what drives a competent musician to barf so hard on other artists’ work. Here’s a snapshot in case you forgot by now:
“That record was mostly shitty and had absolutely no sense of scope or direction”
“see also: their stupid band name”
“the unremitting bullshit of boneheaded opening track”
“the excremental wave of this band’s approach to songwriting”
“An overcooked vanity piece from a band inflated by praise”
There’s a rich history of performers dissing one another in interviews and songs, but I can’t say that I’ve come across many 1,000-word rants written by musicians against their peers. Drumsticks or not, you write like a prick. And you’re not even brief about it. You write like an incapable prick who can’t edit his thoughts down to something less than “entirely superfluous.” Examples, you ask?
“the heart-warming entropy of a self-truncating simplicity”
“a nebulous referent and yet all-important to getting these artist’s appeal”
Thankfully you only used the word “quasi” twice in the course of this review, which helped to whittle away the girth on sentences already fat on modifiers. Speaking of sentences, I’m trying to steer my criticism away from people’s grammar and spelling, but for someone berating a band so savagely, I’ll make an exception. You don’t have a firm handle on words, Conrad:
“true progression comes in the form is seamless integration”
“The same mentality is presented her without irony, used a vehicle for something Meaningful”
In the future if you’re so close to deadline that you can’t spare a reread, you might consider writing less to cut down on typos. While I’m sure some readers would be absolutely crushed if you capped your thoughts on why a band’s album deserves an F+, you might actually attract those who value readability.
Conrad, if you take a look around RipFork, you might notice that I have a problem with the phrase “to be fair.” When a critic uses “to be fair,” it usually means a reassuring pat on the back with one hand and a donkey punch in the other. You didn’t exactly convince me otherwise:
“That record was mostly shitty and had absolutely no sense of scope or direction, but, to be fair, there were some very melodic and occasionally addictive tunes.”
To be fair, huh? Well, to be fair, Conrad, if you keep spending time writing fussy junk like this, you may end up in a similar boat with your own music.