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You Suck Crap

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Album Review

Babyland's first full album can be easily described — frenetic, outraged experimental techno-industrialized hardcore. Very much a compliment, especially given the way the band works. Having made its reputation as a killer live-act playing self-described "electronic junk punk," translating that energy to CD inevitably lost the visual power of the band — the amount of metal cans, drums, and instrumentation the two normally work with is a sight to behold, as is Dan's totally in-your-face, anguished singing — but Crap still made a more-than-fine document of the duo's early sound. The way the bass pulses run on the opening number, "Structure Fall," could have been the inspiration for NIN's "March of the Pigs." Dan and Smith are sample fiends par excellence as well, finding all sorts of found sound vocals and dialogue bits to sprinkle throughout the disc (one sequence is a gripping layering of obscene male outrage that has barely a break for air). Happily, Babyland isn't all angst, often letting their wicked sense of humor surface in the music — old Macintosh users will inevitably recognize the opening sounds on "Mask," while "Burnin' Up" reimagines the early Madonna hit in ways the original singer might be quite bemused to hear. Then there's the a cappella version of the Diff'rent Strokes theme, which pops up as an unlisted bonus track and is worth the fast-forwarding to hear. The twosome also know where just the right amount of space and subtlety can work, as with the low synth tones on "The Advance" or the twinky videogame-style melodies that crop up on songs like "Motor.Tool.Appliance." Along with stronger lyrics than most noisebashers can whip up — "Logan's Run" cleverly uses the metaphor of the film without simply retelling the story — Babyland serve brilliant notice on Crap that they have very much arrived.

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