Stylish Nihilists is a case study in trend research and marketing. These dudes should all quit this band and get jobs at “cutting edge” fashion-y places like Urban Outfitters or Virgin Mobile. Somewhere where their keen abilities to spot “up and coming” trends will come in handy. The layout’s red stenciled letters, spray painted design with an arrow in it, lone fist in the air, and about as much youth rebellion as when D.J. Tanner took a sip of beer after the prom overdo it even more when coupled with songs called “Cocaine Summer” and lyrics like, “When you die I’ll be your deejay.” Fuck, the album is called Stylish Nihilists. Who the fuck is really a nihilist? And are white belts still stylish? I’m confused. Didn’t these guys used to play Eulogy Records-type emo?
It’s not that the album is not good. The production is great (it was recorded at Big Blue Meanie studios), and for the most part at least three or six of the songs are musically enjoyable — I believe the descriptive term is “post-punk.” But combined with the melodies that give the singer away for owning one too many At the Drive In T-shirts, the horrifying packaging and scene-culture references, Stylish Nihilists starts to hint that this band is just another bunch of kids jumping on the hip-train to Coolville. Did I just say that? I meant the train to record sales and girls with dyed black hair.
The best part about this record is the musicianship. Let’s face it: people are going to eat this up. These dudes have long hair, and they sing about drinking and parents forcing them to go to college. Not to mention that the recording is clean and ready for M2. The songs are packed with hard-hitting parts amidst winding segues, so at least they’ll be influencing the next generation of rockers to learn a little more than a power chord on guitar.
I hate giving bad reviews. I know what it’s like to be a musician and to put everything you have into something. But Christiansen puts nothing out there with this release. It’s annoying in its use of pop-scene-culture and is about as subversive as Jell-O. Hopefully “the kids,” as they’re referred to on the album, can see the lack of sincerity involved with this and move on to better things.