Steel For Brains Album Review: Civil Disobedience For Losers
Shtick is the new cool, for sure. That and black metal, I suppose. Safe to say, however, that when you have two people in a band everyone oohs and ahs over the “insanity” of such a thing. You get the White Stripes references, then you get the Black Keys references. That’s all good and well, and kudos to those artists for doing what they do, but then you have Indian Handcrafts - a band so goddamn explosive and unpredictable, they might maybe possibly (I’ll chill with the sensationalism) be the best new band 2012 has seen. You can’t call it metal. You can’t call it blues. You can’t call it punk. You can’t call it hardcore. Come to think of it, you can’t call it anything but Indian Handcrafts, and you can go ahead and gear yourself up for their album Civil Disobedience for Losers - which, for this listener, is an exercise in running the gamut of garage rock if it took place in the toolshed rather than the garage. That is, these guys use every weapon in their arsenal to bring the noise (and yes, even the funk) to a level that hasn’t been this fun and listenable at the same time in years.
Civil Disobedience for Losers starts off, appropriately enough, with a gong - a sort of wink to the listener that these two guys, Brandyn Aikins and Daniel Allen, are just as dedicated to having fun with their art as they are to crafting it (excuse the pun) into something incredibly visceral and sonically contagious. I’m one of those listeners who typically gets stuck on the first track and listens about six times before I move on, but with Civil Disobedience for Losers each track has the innate ability to pull you with every dropkicked note into the next auditory venture. It’s not enough to say that Indian Handcrafts pull their own weight or are doing something “new.” At this point, that rhetoric holds little water. What can be said, however, is that Indian Handcrafts make their sound with an authenticity and disregard for pretention rarely seen in the “duo-rock” spectrum these days.
Obviously influenced by the Melvins, Indian Handcrafts are clever enough not to let the influence become mimicry as they’re just as inclined to blues it up as they are sludge away as evidenced by tracks like the infinitely repeatable Bruce Lee and the goddamn catchy, that’s right - catchy track, Coming Home. Civil Disobedience, just like any fantastic record, is that one that as soon as the last track ends there’s a bit of disappointment for the listener that they couldn’t have written just a couple of more songs. For me, that’s a damn good sign of an album and a band who’s not interested in shtick so much as they are in sticking to an wonderful unpredictability. Civil Disobedience for Losers is a brilliant album, because, interestingly enough, it never tries to be - it simply kicks your ass and makes you ask for more. Smashing through your door on October 30th, Civil Disobedience is an album you won’t soon forget or stop listening to - the gong hit is just a bonus.
By Steel For Brains