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Smegma - Nattering Naybobs of Negativity CD (album) cover





2.10 | 2 ratings

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2 stars Smegma remind me a lot of Cerberus Shoal, not in their musical style of course, but in the way they make every studio release an adventure in experimentation. Neither band seems to be afraid to strike out, and both of them occasionally do. This is one of those misses as far as I’m concerned, but I’ll give the band credit for stretching themselves at least.

The band starts the record pretty much where they left off with their 1987 effort ‘Smell the Remains’ delivering “Pile”, an experimental-noise effort with plenty of discordant arrangements and dissonant brass. “Happy Baby Rhumba” mixes recorded and distorted ‘goo-goo’ baby sounds with outputs from various electronic gadgetry, while “Spring Flowers” does pretty much the same thing but replaces the baby with string sounds (from an electronic organ, I believe). Nothing really all that new so far, at least as far as this band is concerned.

Things get more interesting as the album moves along though, including a heavily fuzzed and distorted guitar/percussion number (“Freakish High”) that borders on ska punk at times without quite getting there. It’s like I expect Camper Van Beethoven to break out any second, but they never do….

“Limp Dynamics” sounds like something the Dead Kennedys had a hand in, but without all the political dialog. Instead the band inserts various snippets from what sound like fifties television shows, along with sound effects that could have been copped from some old Warner Brothers cartoons.

The most approachable song on the album is most likely “Through the Warty Evening”, another Camper Van Beethoven-sounding thing but with dialog vocals along the lines of the less poppish stuff the Dead Milkmen pumped out around the same time (remember “Drivin’ Retards to the Zoo”?); while “Innermost Cravings” sounds a lot like “Dying Cows with Putrid Not Praiseworthy Predation” off their second album, but with what sounds like a stoned space alien replacing the cows.

“Porky Section” is a percussion-driven instrumental with some nasty sax and an overall dirge-like feel, and after the brief “En Vout” which just sounds like the guys in the studio playing with the knobs on their soundboard “Mouthful of Rubber” closes the album with lots of recorded spoken-word dialog (also from television or movies it sounds like). This is also one of the longest tracks Smegma ever recorded at more than seven minutes.

There’s not much that stands out on this album, and even though I’m not really a huge fan of the band I sort of expect a little more for a group that had been around for about fifteen years at the time. As an aside, the CD reissue contains a bunch of additional tracks but I personally haven’t heard any of them so can’t really comment. Fans of experimental avant may something to like here, but I have to say this one is largely meant for hardcore fans of the band only. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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