Will buzz bands please all just go away? It seems not a single day passes when music consumers read in magazines about the next big thing. If one more yuppie in an FCUK shirt raves about Franz Ferdinand or Jet, there’s going to be five across the eyes. Now, An Albatross out of Philadelphia is making ears perk up. Some call it brilliance, but obnoxiousness is more like it.
These days, when we talk about brilliant progressive records, the Mars Volta is usually within ear shot. I would hope An Albatross’s We Are the Lazer Viking would sound similar to that particular group. Instead, the vocals are taken to another level entirely. There is no singing, no melodies, nothing of the sort. Sometimes this is a good thing, as many hardcore fans will agree. But the majority of hardcore, especially in this case, when it’s mixed with evil disco synths, just inflicts brain haemorrhages.
In about eight minutes, singer Edward B. Geida hurdles through eleven tracks, ranging in length between 21 seconds and 1:24. There’s barely time to figure out what’s going on amongst the madness before the album ceases to a grinding halt. It’s been said the band has been known to play four sets in one night. Judging by each song’s shortness, that’s an effortless feat. We Are the Lazer Viking is a sophomoric attempt at a grindcore record. The newly added second keyboard player cleans up the sound a bit, though it’s barely noticeable.
Is it art? Am I just missing the point? Perhaps there are more silver linings to We Are the Laser Viking than meets the naked eye, but to the naked ear, it’s just a racket put on tape to ooze cool machismo. The buzz yuppies will doubtless pick this record up along with their Hotel Costes compilations and O.C. soundtracks, a more deserving fate for An Albatross is to gather dust on the shelves.