Music Reviews

Artist: The American Jobs
Title: Carne Levare
Format: 12"
Label: Savage Quality Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
The American Jobs is an outfit led by Nathan Reynolds of Columbus, Ohio. Here Nathan does all of the lead vocals, and plays keyboards, guitar and bass. Other members are Brad Hershfeldt - saxophone, percussion; and Aaron Klamut- bass, drums, guitar; with additional musicians Jan Burton - drums (on opening track "In Caves" only), and Ilanna Kristiansen, Chelsea Meckley, and Nikki Portman - backing vocals (on "Black Tar" only). 'Carne Levare' is their debut album on vinyl released by Savage Quality Recordings. The label describes them as "Dark experimental post-punk/art rock from Ohio that brings to mind early 4AD records, World Serpent Industries and Thirst-era Clock DVA. Gothic post-industrial psychedelia of the highest order!" No it's not. None of those labels would ever have given these guys a recording contract even in their early days.

From the opening track "In Caves" the record does sound like it was recorded in caves, drown in a miasma of reverb, a crawling, dismal sludgefest going nowhere slow...very slow. Is this a joke? Was I playing it at the wrong speed? Apparently not. "Velvet, Moss and Flies" shifts gears a little but not much. Heavier percussion and eastern overtones, still with Mr. Reynolds woeful baritone warbling. Imagine a talentless Brendan Perry and you have some idea. Psychedelic? A bit, but it's a batch of bad acid to be sure. "Black Tar" is aptly named and based on a "Smoke in the Water" (no, not the same notes, but similar in concept) style riff and augmented with some female backing vocals. I don't know exactly why, but this song makes me think of the Manson (Charles, not Marilyn) family singing 'round the campfire at Spahn Ranch prior to the Tate-LaBianca murders. "Grace" is just an awful, mournful moaning dirge with tweeting birds in the background.

Things don't get any better on side B. "Jailhouse" sounds like a practice session of the Velvet Underground in Lou Reed's quieter moments, but only if the band was stoned out on a mixture of heroin and hallucinogens. No point in going into the other four tracks on this side; I've had quite enough, than you. Recording quality is abysmal, but perhaps they were going for that sort of lo-fi sound. Weird thing is, some people are really going to like this. By some of things I've read, some people already do heralding it as great bleak postpunk/no wave. Just don't count me among them. One star for showing up, the other for releasing it on vinyl, for whatever that's worth.

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