People like Numbers because they’re willfully silly and like to make bizarre sounds. And as post-punk-pop-disco-electronica, Numbers’ second full-length, In My Mind All the Time, is a case of true originality. As has been said before, "brilliant anti-capitalist critiques are so damn sexy," and Numbers can add up to a night of entertainment. They’re kind of a party comprised of a jumble of electronic equipment, and they can easily slip between your Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof mixtape without missing a beat.
I liked In My Mind All the Time the first few times I listened to it. But it was the same way I like going roller-skating once every decade, and then I never wanted to hear it again. (Keep in mind that as I type, my state’s governor’s most famous public statement is"Hasta la vista, baby!"; the university I attend is responsible for the development of every nuclear bomb ever detonated; and my graduation ceremony consisted of a particularly heinous series of botched metaphors by a slam poet, followed by the heinously toupeed Ted Koppel’s defense of the war in Iraq.)
Perhaps you’re ready to stop reading and think about something else, in which case I highly recommend two online reads: Zadie Smith’s "American Authors and Their Hair" or Kim Addonizio on Narrativemagazine.com. From here on, you will be subject to my analysis of a section of Oakland subculture.
Numbers, despite its original sound, is in many ways typical of the white-folks Oakland scene. Due to their ubiquitous Bay Area presence, I assume the band members have enough attitude to pull off their insistence on making inaccessible noises and screaming about political issues. It’s just not what gets me happy, and it’s kind of hypocritical. If they really wanted to get their messages out, why must they express them in unappealing stentorian noises? Frank Zappa could get away with it, but he was Frank Zappa. It’s the same way I fail to admire Yoko Ono screaming at the Tibetan Freedom Concert, "I’m dying," and then loving herself on MTV while she says, "I just realized my music was so appropriate for the occasion."
In their pose of effecting change, band members Indra Dunis, Eric Landmark and Dave Broekema might be too caught up with themselves to notice that they’re alienating anyone outside their core posse, who are busy patting themselves on the back for the pleasure they derive from understanding the kind of music that people don’t appreciate.
But here this music review is bashing on relatively small-time bands, making me realize my relative insignificance in the world and thinking about how much more powerful Numbers — even making music that doesn’t turn me on — is for just doing what they want to do. As I continue my work as a lowly scrivener on a 100-page senior thesis on knowledge and dead authors that no one will ever read, I realize I’m the one being an asshole, not them.
Give Numbers a listen if you’re into bizarrities and quiddities and oddities and novelties and politics. Or listen to them because they’re skin-deep and that’s acceptable as art. Or if you rent, listen to them to make your roommates leave and then set the apartment on fire. Down with capitalism! Burn commodities! Did I just say that? Anyhow … 71823479jfkamvxxnxznczj+++()*JFjdakjdfklajmffaj;l71. Much better.