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Why Bother?

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Album Review

After expanding to a trio for Gimmie Trouble, Adult. returned to their classic duo lineup for Why Bother? That doesn't mean that Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller have abandoned the wilder, noisier sound they explored on their last album, though — in fact, Why Bother? is even more radical, pairing dead-calm passages with weird and often downright evil-sounding electronics that recall Throbbing Gristle and Wolf Eyes. This direction is most apparent on the album's instrumentals: parts one and two of "The Importance of Being Folk" are expanses of feral, howling analog noise that suggest fallow pastures, rotten orchards, and other eerie landscapes; "Cultivation"'s strafing synths and the atmospheric yet grinding finale, "Harvest," show the duo's dedication to further folding, spindling, and mutilating their sound. Why Bother?'s deconstructed approach also bleeds into the songs that sound more like Adult.'s earlier work. "Good Deeds" and "Herd Me" — which both offer witty commentary on groupthink — bristle with rapid-fire beats and Kuperus' snotty, then scary vocals, remaining danceable while flirting with the chaos elsewhere on the album. Kuperus is in especially rare form on "Inclined to Vomit," where she shrieks and bellows lyrics like "you make me disgusted to a painful degree!" with fury, disgust, and dark, dark humor as synths pulse like a migraine behind her. And though there are fewer guitars on Why Bother? than on Gimmie Trouble or D.U.M.E., Adult.'s mix of punk, industrial, and dance sounds more organic and, well, doomier than it did when they had a full-time guitarist, as "Plagued by Fear"'s low-slung riffs and "You Don't Worry Enough"'s fantastic metallic onslaughts demonstrate. They could've easily stuck to the approach that worked so well on their singles and Anxiety Always, but Adult. keeps finding ways to keep their sound vital. Why Bother? offers fierce, fascinating proof that they'll continue discovering life (or afterlife) in music equally informed by dance and punk.

Customer Reviews

if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem

I'm not completely sure yet if this is a five star album, but I couldn't resist the urge to offset the ratings of the fools before me. I got this record last week, and after gleefully tearing open the box I put it on. I wasn't so gleeful by the end of my listening session. This album hits closer to all of the feelings and emotions that Adult.'s earlier efforts displayed. Why Bother? isn't as accesible as previous albums, but that makes it all the more addictive. It's challenging, and that's refreshing. It's about the disgust we should all be feeling for our current state of affairs, i.e. the war, media obsession, edging ever closer to completely losing our humanity, etc. The sounds are spookier than ever, more sinister beats, and Nicola Kuperus delivers her lines with a voice that is ever expanding in range. This is the soundtrack to our contemporary American horror movie, but it's not a movie, sweetie. Why Bother? You tell me.

This is all my fault.

A few years back, on my birthday, I went and saw Adult. at the Ottobar in Baltimore. I got really really drunk, talked to Nicola after the show and, in a slurred stupor, called them "electroclash"...I regret it to this day. She wasn't too happy about that...Their albums are progressively distancing themselves from electroclash (as if that were still a term). This album is miles ahead of the D.U.M.E. ep and Anxiety Always. That said, I personally prefer the Resuscitation sound to this...Nicola just sounds better when she's talking instead of screaming. Nonetheless, Why Bother? is ballsy and strange...and that's something that can't be said about too many American electronic artists.

once again

ADULT. continues to reinvent themselves, always moving darker and more uneasy, true fans will love this, those stuck in Hand to Phone or nausea wont.


Formed: 1998 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Electronic

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

Of the innumerable electro-techno acts to arise from Detroit during the 1990s, Adult. may be the most unique, instantly recognizable for their starkly grim visuals as well as their anxiety-ridden music. Adult. (note the period) is comprised of married couple Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, who began their recording career together as Plasma Co., a name by which only an obscure 12", "Modern Romantics," was released in 1998. Miller had been releasing music on his electro-techno label Ersatz Audio...
Full Bio
Why Bother?, ADULT.
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