Review ·

There aren't a lot of nice things to say about Quantum Fucking, but, then again, the members of Houston's Fatal Flying Guilloteens don't want to have nice things said about it. The album is loud, dissonant, and at points physically hard to listen to, which is awesome in a way that the squares will never understand. Jello Biafra can't sing (despite his arguments to the contrary) and Sid Vicious couldn't play bass to save his life, but neither really mattered more than the decibels and swagger of their bands' musical statements. The Jesus Lizard, a band with which the Guilloteens share a psychic kinship, understood the importance of transgressive noise to the rock experience. The Supersuckers, whose Motherfuckers Be Tripping only slightly edges Quantum Fucking in the creative-use-of-profanity department, also knew that an essential part of the rock experience is the primal satisfaction of beating drums and guitars. Quantum Fucking is a muscular exercise that is at once a natural descendent of the noise acts have come before and a not fully realized experiment bent on moving the discourse into an exciting future.

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Quantum Fucking's twelve songs are at once familiar and innovative. The strident guitars and spoken verses of "Reveal the Rats" and "Illegal Weapons Party" recall classic punk like the Stooges or the Sex Pistols but add a variety of sampled sounds and metal-inspired bass lines. "Great Apes" starts with an amateurish guitar line and then follows it with a thumping bass, a stunningly catchy guitar break, and screamed lyrics. These songs burst with such energy that it seems that any recording would fail to capture the true bombast of the performance. The Guilloteens shred the conventions of punk, metal, and straight- forward guitar rock and reassemble the songs into jagged pieces. The result is a loud mess, but a compelling and ambitious one.

 

Though Quantum Fucking is mainly concerned with volume, the Guilloteens have greater aspirations. How well they achieve their goals is debatable. They bill the Quantum Fucking as a "fictitious true-life account of young love on the streets," and regardless of whether they're being facetious, the album lacks continuity. None of the songs seem connected in any discernible way, and many of the songs are plain in comparison to the more ambitious tracks mentioned earlier. "Tiger Versus Gator," "Non-Original Talent," and "Fantasy Licks with Platinum" offer some listening pleasures but are far more muted than those found elsewhere. Where "Great Apes" takes off with the lush guitar line or "Illegal Weapons Party" uses vocals to create a sense of sinister threat, these songs rely mainly on the driving base lines and high-powered vocals to make their impact. This is enough to propel them, but the songs seem mediocre when contrasted with the more experimental tracks here.

 

At its best, Quantum Fucking pairs its appreciation for the raucous history of noise with a definite point of view about the future of the medium. But the Fatal Flying Guilloteens are unable to maintain the frenetic pace or inventiveness of the best tracks over the course of the album.         

           

***

Band: http://www.fatalflyingguilloteens.com/

Label: http://www.frenchkissrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/fatalflyingguilloteens

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