24 Sep, 2013

Coach Whips – “Hands on the Controls”

The raw power of John Dwyer (now of the Thee Oh Sees) and his early 2000 lo-fi rock experiment Coachwhips comes blaring through the speakers in their album Hands on the Controls. This 2013 version is a rerelease of their debut album, complete with an additional six tracks and the option to find the copy in vinyl, not available in 2002.

After listening to all 25 tracks, I feel like I should change the speakers on my laptop because they most likely have been blown to bits by the ear-splitting, broken shards of music that this album boasts. I completely understand the addition of cacophonic sounds in the middle of a melody to add variety (how to do this correctly: Spoon’s “Written in Reverse”) but this album took the experimental sounds too far, creating an uncomfortable amalgam of noise rather than an interesting musical flow.

I feel like my biggest issue with the album overall was my inability to listen to the full track list without feeling that each song blended together. When listened to individually, I enjoyed the title track “Hands on The Controls” and the raunchy, brash “Look Into My Eyes When I Come”, but their quality became muddled when I listen to the full album in one session.

The appeal of lo-fi sound is to strip the “synthetic” music away from the real talent and emotion of the performing musicians, as if you had the ability to listen to them live. If this album is indicative of Coachwhips live performance, I think I’ll stay home and listen to my synthetic music. If you are a lo-fi fanatic, pick up the album or listen to it for free at http://www.brooklynvegan.com, but if your ears drums rupture don’t say you were not warned.


Review by Jordan Thornlow

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