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Every Eleven Seconds

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Album Review

It's been a couple of years since Amps for Christ released a full-length. Their last, The People at Large, was issued in 2004. In the interim, they've participated in various band side projects such as a split single with 1-Eyed Cyclops and a split EP with Bastard Noise. How weird does it get? Awfully. That said, it's also the most contagious, beautifully crafted AFC project yet. Henry Barnes (referred to here as Ranger Barnes) and Enid Snarb assemble a large cast, including old friends who are only addressed by last names here — Wood and Nelson (MITB), Keller (Franz K), and many others, including family members Rufie and Lexie Barnes. The music includes doomy power guitar freakouts with primitive homemade electronic beats ("Augmented/Demented"); stirring Appalachian string ballads ("Cock o' the North"); mariachi adaptations with feedback guitars gracing the acoustic instruments ("El Corazon San Vincente"); power electronic noise orgies ("I Hate This Dumpster" and "The Crossing"); electro-Celtic majestic balladry ("Scotland of the Brave"); freakout electronic ragas where sitar, hand drums, and weird distorted sounds become a hypnotic foray into the mystic ("Proof Man"); spoken word poetry and prose decorated with freaky sonics ("Thompson Hunter" and "Chorus"); and beautiful old traditional folk songs sung by Barnes and sister Lexie ("Sweet Dove"). Then there's "WIB," which sounds like Neil Young playing with Pink Floyd. The set closes with "Monkeys Gone Wild," which uses skittering breakbeats, drum'n'bass, and electro with a fuzzed-out electric guitar holding it all together somehow. Right...if you don't like what's playing, wait a minute or two or hit skip with the remote and it'll change. Every Eleven Seconds is not necessarily cohesive as an album, but it makes for a fine collection of tunes, experiments, and exercises in weirdness. And throughout, it never loses its utterly strange charm or humorous sense of adventure. AFC aren't for everybody, but there is something for everybody on Every Eleven Seconds.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Electronic primitivist project Amps for Christ was primarily the work of Claremont, California-based Henry Barnes, formerly of sludge metal/hardcore legends Man Is the Bastard and harsh noise offshoot Bastard Noise. An outlet for Barnes' interest in polyethnic folk traditions and faux-Celtic mysticism, Amps for Christ proved equally distinctive for its use of custom-built guitars and electronics, recording with a number of occasional collaborators, including vocalist Tara Tikkitavi, percussionist...
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