Vinyl of the Week: Captain Ahab's Grotesque 2LP Opus, 'The End of Irony' [MP3]
In the strange wake of music's digital rebirth, vinyl has experienced a modest boom in popularity, seen by many as a replacement for the awkward middleman that is the compact disc. INCHES reviews the output of L.A.'s healthy vinyl community, believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
If you're already familiar with Captain Ahab, then you can skip the part where we explain what's so simultaneously amazing and appalling about the duo's music. By merging the comedic with the straight-faced, and rap with metal with happy hardcore, Jonathan Snipes and Jim Merson create something that outwardly reeks of novelty, but which forcibly demands repeat listens. Maybe it's the car-wreck factor, or maybe they've actually got something. The album cover, quite unhelpfully, suggests a mix of both. But dig a little bit deeper, and you'll discover that The End of Irony is presents its own cosmology -- albeit one whose prophet who was "born of divine phallus."
Epic would be one way to describe the songs gathered here, at least in as much as differentiating them from goofier predecessors like "Snakes On the Brain." The album's two-part opening salvo -- "Acting Hard" and "The Calm Before the Sword" -- are choral, downright orchestral pieces shot through with the expected spasticity, not to mention a Squarepusher sample and the classic James Brown "Woo! Yeah!" loop. But what does it sound like? God, so many things -- like those fuckers that did the "Barbie Girl" song collaborating with the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo, with guest spots from Too $hort and Marilyn Manson. But with Auto-Tune. And maybe some Devo. And ELO.
"Under Your Bones" offers dark, glitch-riddled electro-pop, while "Get Fucked in the Club" ditches the thump for pure thrash. "Kill Me" plays like upbeat '80s pop, which should be ironic considering the song's title, but it's not. It's just... good. In the weirdest, most critically unsound way, it's actually good. So is it this record death knell of irony? Hard to say, but Captain Ahab is most definitely skull-humping the corpse of something, so let's hope so.
01. The National - Hight Violet (4AD)
02. The New Pornographers - Together (Matador)
03. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (Warp)
04. Sweater Girls - "Do the Sweater" 7-inch (HHBTM)
05. Le Switch / Les Blanks - "Storefront Split" 7-inch (LL700)
06. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
07. KISSES - "Bermuda" 7-inch (Transparent)
08. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Loverboy (4AD)
09. Holy Fuck - Latin (XL)
10. Kissing Cousins - Pillar of Salt (Velvet Blue)*
[*previously featured in INCHES]
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).